Sivapuranam in English – Rudra Samhita

Devotees often recite Sivapuranam Pdf as part of their daily prayers.

Sivapuranam in English – Rudra Samhita

Rudra Samhita

Proceeded further Sage Soota to reveal mysticism of a new chapter called Rudra Samhita.

Ego Blown Narada

Once Narada made a hard penance, the power of which began to shake the celestial world. Indra thought he was going to lose his throne. So, to disrupt the penance of Narada he sent Kama. Kama, in the form of romantic spirit along with his retinue, reached the spot where Narada sat withdrawn into deep meditation.

But it was the spot where earlier Shiva had burnt down Kama with his angry third eye. Kama lost his body but by the grace of Shiva continued to exist as the invisible force of love. Shiva had declared that zone to be immune to any romantic or any other kind of spell. Kama had forgotten that fact and failed in his mission.

Sensing victory, Narada opened his eyes and thought, affected by Lord’s maya, that Kama’s defeat was due to the power of his own penance. And it was also a proof of successful culmination of his penance. He exulted casting away modesty and self-control. Narada rushed to Kailasha and boasted how he had vanquished Kama with his newly gained divine power.

T Shiva felt pity for him and played down Narada’s imaginary achievement. He cautioned Narada not to get blown away by ego, self-adulation and conceit. But Narada’s mind was too obsessed with his accomplishment to pay heed to any advice. He took leave of Shiva and flashed straight to his father, Brahma. Again, he indulged in self-glorification for his incredible victory. Brahma also tried unsuccessfully to put sense in his son.

Then, Narada went to the domain of Vishnu who greeted the visitor warmly and got him beseated. And all the while Narada kept babbling about his unprecedented feat. Vishnu realised that the great celebrated sage had fallen prey to the mystical may a of Shiva. He sportingly commended the achievement of Narada. It went straight to the head of the sage. He bragged that even hundreds of Kamas could not affect his mind. Then, Narada departed to boast through the other domains and worlds.

Vishnu Enchants Narada

As soon as Narada left, Vishnu invoked his maya power and created illusions of a city, its king and a beateous princess on the way of the sage. Narada entered the city and went to the palace to meet king of that mysterious place. The king, Sheelnidhi welcomed him and asked the princess to host the visitor sage.

Sheelnidhi prayed to Narada to bless the princess with happy life as her swayamwara was being held shortly. Meanwhile, Kama had cast a spell and Narada had himself fallen head over heels in love with the princess. The sage wanted to marry her at all costs and by hook or crook. Everything looked meaningless to Narada without that beauty as his wife. But why would a princess select a sage for her husband?

Narada rushed to Vishnu to seek his help. He prayed to Narayana Hari (as he always prefered to call Vishnu) to lend him his magnificent image, the male beauty no woman could resist. Hari accepted his request and transferred his image to Narada who now had divinely handsome physique like the Lord. But the face was that of a monkey. Narada had no idea about it as he could not see his face. Lord was playing a divine prank as ‘Hari’ word also stood for ‘primate, ape or monkey’. Narada had the body of Narayana and the face of Hari, a monkey.

Narada went to the swayamwara sure of bagging the princess with his divine handsomeness. As desired by maya, two servitors of Shiva, disguised as brahmins sat on the flanks of Narada in the row of candidates. The princess ‘Shrimati’ walked in with victory garland in her hand accompanied by her friends. Just then, Vishnu also walked in, in the guise of an incredibly handsome king. The princess pouted at Narada and walked on straight to Vishnu to put the garland in his neck.

In a shocked mood Narada walked out followed by the two servitors of Shiva disguised as brahmins who were making fun of the former. To the puzzled Narada they said he must see his reflection in water. In a pool Narada looked and saw his monkey face. A wave of anger against Vishnu, swept inside him. Shaking in rage Narada cursed the brahmins to suffer the life of demons. In a revengeful mood the sage arrived at the domain of Vishnu to put a curse on Him.

Vishnu Accursed

As Narada faced Vishnu words accusing Lord of treachery, deceit, dirty trick and meanness issued from his mouth in cascade. Then, he spelled out the curse, “Disguised as a king you cheated me for a woman. For that you shall take birth as a human royal. I suffered the pining for a woman and so shall you for by being separated from your wife. You shall have to seek the help of monkeys, the ones who have faces like the one you gave me by trick.”

Vishnu in his divine yellow robe stood and patiently bore with the invectives and curse of the sage in rage. Then, lord of Baikuntha invoked Shiva and prayed.The Lord of Kailasha at once lifted his maya off the sage, Narada instantly regained his normal poise and devotional sentiment.

Realising the impropriety of his outburst against his idol, he fell at the feet of Vishnu in repentant mood seeking forgiveness of Lord. Vishnu revealed to him that it was all the maya of the Deity Supreme, Shiva, the conqueror of death whose grace was always aimed for by the enlightened ones. Upon being so advised Narada prayed to his creator Brahma to impart him the knowledge of worshipping Shiva to earn His grace. Brahma had to answer the prayer of his son.

Narada Gains Knowledge Of The Mysticism Of Shiva

Spoke Brahma:

‘Narada, my son! Full and complete knowledge of Shiva’s mysticism is neither within my scope nor in that of Narayana who created me. Shiva is the mystery of all mysteries. Only He knows his own mysticism in totality.

At the time of last doom everything drowned in a mega deluge. Days or night did not exist. The time froze. None of the five elements (Panchabhootas) survived or their compound products. An endless darkness engulfed all and a blind nature prevailed. The only survivor was Shiva, a nameless reality, without any form or shape, eternal, immortal, beyond evolution, one full of peaceful happiness of divine tranquility, self-aglow and the soul of the light.

This absolute Divine Force inspired coming into existence of a symbolic figure to recreate the cosmos. The figure got the name ‘Sadashiva’, i.e. Shiva-Eternal. Coupling with Him was His generative power – Shakti, the two inseparables like a ‘word’ and its ‘meaning’ are. Implied are they, in each other.

Five faced was Sadashiva while Shakti had one face. Shiva really is Divine Luminant. He willed for a place to live with Shakti alias Sakaleshwari, namely Shiva-domain, Kashi in an earlier creation. The two did not leave this place even during the doom. Then, the two thought of creating another divinity to deligate the responsibilities of creation and evolution. A rub of nectar on the left side produced a divinity of incredible beauty and attributes.

All a glow was his body. He prayed to Shiva to give him a name. Shiva answered – ‘Vishnu, the omnipresent’ and gave him the divine insight. At the command of Shiva the divinity named Vishnu made penance for twelve celestial years. Streams of water jetted out of his body. The space was filled up with their vapours and all the sins and evils got washed away. In the sea formed in this process Vishnu rested asleep tired of penance making.

That earned him the name ‘Narayana’ literally meaning ‘Water asleep’. He generated the creative elements like nature and the five elements (Panchabhootas) after the three basic tendencies and ego. In all 24 elements were created. The sensory organs and functional parts of the body followed. Thus by grace of Shiva, His willed one, ‘Vishnu’ became the initiator of the new creation before going to sleep by His grace.

Vishnu-Brahma Clash And Pillar Luminosity

Brahma continued :

As Narayana slept in water, by the will of Shiva, a lotus stalk sprouted out of the navel of sleeping Vishnu Narayana. It gave him another name ‘ Kamalnabha’. The stalk continued to grow upwards like a thick column of smoke. Then, high up at the top of the stalk a huge lotus flower blossomed. It was a magnificent sight. As later I learnt, Shiva produced km from the lower part of his body and put me on the lotus.

I had four faces but was bereft of any ‘I knowledge about my father, my purpose, surroundings, location, situation and aim. That divine lotus was the only thing I saw and knew about. Hoping to find my creator at the base or root of the flower I descended into the stalk that was like a vertical tunnel from inside. For hundreds of celestial years I kept sliding down without reaching the bottom.

Frustrated at endless travel down I started upward climb to reach the top’. Again even after hundreds of years of ascent I could not reach the corona to my dismay. Then, Shiva willed a prophecy for my benefit. It asked me to make hard penance. I made a hard penance for twelve years and Vishnu materialised before me, by grace of Shiva.

Magnificent was Lord Vishnu, incredibly handsome, wearing a crown and a lot of ornamental things, draped in yellow apparel, four armed, holding conchshell, chakra, lotus and mace in each hand. Both of us were under the spell of the maya of Shiva.

Vishnu claimed he was my father and the one who lay at the root of the lotus stalk I had materialised on. But I thought I had come into existence on my own through my latent divine power as I had not found Vishnu during my exploration down. So, I would not accept his seniority claim and superior position. We argued on and on and even quarrelled.

To bring peace Shiva manifested between us in the form of a luminous pillar. The spell of maya broke. When we failed to find either end of it as we competed to explore. Vishnu went for down end and I for upper end. Defeated, we prayed to the pillar; “O divine

Mystery! It is beyond our scope to understand what or who you are. Totally mystified we are, please manifest in your true form and enlighten us. Reveal your truth/7 There was no response from the shaft of light which infact was the Lingam symbol of Shiva. For one hundred years we prayed in many ways without success. Then, a humming sound issued from the pillar.

It felt like echoing ‘Om’. It was followed by other sounds echoing from various sides with formation of corresponding syllables like ‘aa’, oo, ‘um’. A divine happiness was being radiated by the luminous pillar. Vishnu and I were confused.

Then, a shadow of a sage figure took shape there. It revealed that may a of the Force Supreme was at work. And it was Shiva. In phonetics and syllables He was manifesting in the cryptic forms being yet beyond mind and speech. He was the causer of all. (AUM) manifested His syllabic form that addressed a common gender. Various sounds and syllables appearing were representatives of the divinities to manifest, as willed by Him, the force supreme Shiva.

From the core echo syllable ‘A-U-M’ the three principal deities emerged in the form of me (Brahma), Vishnu and Mahesh (manifested Shiva) to carry on the exercises of creation, sustenance and destruction respectively. The syllables also stood for male, female and zone aspects (aum). The hum of the echo (Nada) kept them linked together.

In other sense, Shiva was the seeder, Brahma seed and Vishnu seeded (the latter two being male and female aspects). The seeded seed expanded to become cosmic egg (Brahmanda). This divine egg remained in water for many celestial years.

Thousands of years later, Shiva split the egg in two parts. The upper part became celestial world and the lower half, the earth and five elements. From that egg also emerged four armed creator.

Upon learning the supreme divinity of the luminescent pillar as being Shivalingam, Vishnu began to sing prayers of the Divinity Supreme. Then, we saw a divine person with five faces, ten arms, having camphor white complexion, glow and ornamental embellishments materialise. Extremely generous and virile He looked. Every part of that divinity reflected a syllable and all the syllables were there representing various parts.

He appeared to be the embodiment of hymns, odes, prayers, holy mantras, spiritual wisdoms, enlightenments, mystical knowledges, volumes of unworded scriptures, Vedas, visualisation of future epics, tenets, code books and alphabetical heaps waiting to become meaningful words. It was syllabic manifestation of deity supreme, Shiva and Vishnu sang odes to the Shabda Parbrahm, the Supreme Power of Unmanifest Words.

He, the all pervailing and all-embracing Shiva Supreme breathed the divine knowledges of Vedas five holiest mantras and Om into me (Brahma) and Vishnu. Pleased with our prayers, Shiva materialised before us in his Deity Supreme form along with his consort, Uma to bless us. We made obeisance to them devotedly.

Enlightenment Of Brahma And Vishnu

Continued to reveal Brahma :
We, then prayed to Deity Supreme to teach us the ways to worship Him and gain a place in His domain.

Told Shiva to us :
You are doing fine. I am pleased with you two and bless you. Keep your mind beamed into Me. From my right and left side I created you. Now, I will Brahma to create and Vishnu to sustain the creation. Although I am Power Supreme, the creator, sustainer and destroyer yet I divided Myself into three of us for the division of duties for smooth functioning.

We are not different entities. As Divine Trio we shall work without discrimination and feeling of individuality. The duty of destruction I delegate to my manifestation as Rudra who would materialise out of the forehead of Brahma.

In the form of My nature, Uma is vested in Me. She would triplicate herself into Uma, Saraswati and Laxmi. The latter two shall couple with Brahma and Vishnu respectively. One other form of her would be Kaali to pair with Rudra dimension of Me to assist internally and externally with involvement.

Four castes and ashrams created by Me fall in the Tamogima (Dark tendency) category. Rudra, internally would be pious (satva) but shall externally appear to be of Tamoguna. You (Brahma and Vishnu) shall have faith in Me but will together worship Rudra.

You three will make Divine Trinity. No discrimination between the three by anyone will be tolerated. Carry out my commands, protecting the good and rewarding the faithfuls with happiness of prosperity.

Narayana (Vishnu)! You shall earn limitless glory by slaying evil forces, enemies, incarnating and thereby gaining the adulation of multitudes of devotees. But no harm or impediments should be caused to the creation process of Brahma (me). Then, He framed our time spans.

Time Frames For Trinity

Brahma day/night would consist of eight thousand earth-aeons (yugas). Such thirty day months and twelve months were to make a Brahma-year. I was allotted such one hundred Brahma-years or 8000 x 30 x 12 x 100 earth-aeons. Vishnu was given one hundred Vishnu-years, each day/night of which consisted of 20,80,000 earth- aeons. One Vishnu-year was to be a day for Rudra. At that rate if Rudra spent 100 Rudra years he would become a human to be assimilated into Shiva.

Then, only Shiva would exist. Shakti would materialise from His inhalation and from His exhalations, once again, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra would emerge followed by other celestial entities. He revealed that infact, He did not breathe being eternal, immortal and infinite, beyond all counts, calculations and measurements.

After determining the time spans, Shiva imparted other knowledges to us. That episode set the tradition of Lingam worship as a tribute to the Luminous Pillar the mystical manifestation of Shiva, the Power Supreme. Anyone who reads or recites this episode before a Lingam for six months gains Shiva-status.

Shiva Worship – Guidelines

Urged Shaunaka and others :
“Sage! You have studied deeply what transpired betweeen Brahma and Narada. What Brahma revealed about the worship of Shiva?”

Obliged Sage Soota :
I will tell you the Shiva worship regime as revealed by Brahma. A faithful must wake up at early dawn. Remember guru, Shiva, Vishnu and then Brahma. After that invoke Shiva to pray for a blessingful day. Get over with answering to natural duties before brushing teeth, washing and cleaning oneself besides shaving in case of a male. While bathing chant mantras one’s accustomed to.

After putting on new dress, say prayer at a peaceful place. Take a breather and enter pooja room with calm mind for the formal worship of Shiva. Sit cross legged on appointed seat on a spread on the floor.

First of all invoke Ganesha and offer worship. Install Lingam bringing to mind the three eyed divine form of Shiva. Start worship with chants of Pranava (Om) and Pentasyllable mantra. Keep the bowl of water, oblation material and flowers ready besides achamana.

Invoke Shiva with Vasudeva and Ishana mantras. His idol may be washed with water treated with sandalwood and aromatics. Oint the’ idol with Panchamrita (milk, curd, honey, ghee and.cane juice mixture) with chant of ‘Om’.

For! Lingam, put kusha grass, camphor, sandalwood and flowers of any kind (except Pandanus) over it. Then, pour clean water or milk on it in steady thin stream. While doing so, mantras dedicated to Shiva be incanted. Offer dhoop, deep, tambul and naivedya with mantra chanting.

After offering water pray to Lord seeking forgiveness for lapses and errors and blessings for success and betterment. The worship of Shiva is extremely rewarding and wish fulfilling besides begetting one the salvation.

Cosmic Creation

Went on Sage Soota :

Holy sirs! After manifesting from Lingam of luminosity and enlightening Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva withdrew into his formless infinity. Brahma sought guidance from Vishnu about creation. After briefing Brahma, Vishnu went to live in the outer region of space making it his own domain.

For the purpose of creation, Brahma invoked Shiva and Vishnu. Then, he threw up a handful of water which transformed into a great egg of cosmic dimension that was manifestation of 24 elements. But it was inert. He prayed to beget life and consciousness for the cosmic egg.

In reply Vishnu materialised there. He transformed into a shape having infinite dimensions, thousands of heads, eyes and feet. In that form he entered into the egg which became alive with that. Shiva and Vishnu built their own domains inside.

Meanwhile, Brahma began to create. It began with three formats and five elements, multiplied by their compounds. The eight were the primary tools of creative exercise. The nineth format was Kumara which produced men of spiritual wisdom, sages, holy persons and seers. Sanaka and Sananda were its products. Brahma wanted them to assist him in creative exercise but they made excuses and abandoned him.

It hurt Brahma. Earlier, in the earth chapter of creation, ignorance and negative factors (Tamas) got born followed by solid state living and non-living things like mountains, plants, tree and other immovables. Beasts and birds came later followed by humans at later stage.

This part of creation immensely pleased and satisfied Brahma. But the betrayal of his own son-like Kumara products was a great disappointment. To sad Brahma, Vishnu advised to seek the grace of Shiva. So, Brahma made a penance to propitiate Shiva.

Manifests Rudra

As prophesied earlier by Shiva, from the central part of the forehead, just above eyes of Brahma, Lord manifested as Ardhanareeshwara (half man- half woman figure) accompanied by a host of divine guards and servitors called ganas. In this way the Rudra dimension of Shiva materialised. It was the destroyer aspect of Shiva.

Meanwhile, the creation of Brahma was stagnating. No regeneration was taking place, the creatures were just ageing without dying or falling ill. Shiva had manifested as ‘half-man half-, dp- women’ form to convey the message that regeneration was possible only through interaction between the two sexes. He explained that to Brahma orally as well. Brahma was advised to create creatures in gender format and the species who would be subject to birth, death and other calamities. So advising and duly blessing creator, Rudra vanished.


Freshly advised and empowered Brahma began to create characters. By mixing subjective elements of meaning, touch, taste, smell and beauty with five objective elements of earth, space, fire, air and water plus compounds, dimensions, statics, dynamics and calibration of time spans, Brahma shaped characters. Marichi got created from his eyes, heart produced Bhrigu, Angirasa was born of his head etc.

By the grace of Shiva and inspiration provided by Rudra, Brahma transformed half of his person into female anatomy. The interaction between the gender halves produced a male called Manu and a female in Shataroopa. They too were paired by Creator to beget two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanpada, and three daughters, Akooti, Devahooti and Prasooti. They were respectively coupled with Ruchi, Kardama and Daksha.

Yajna and Dakshina were born to Akooti. Their pairing produced a dozen sons. Devahooti and Prasooti begot large broods of daughters. Thirteen of them namely Lakshmi, Shraddha, Dhriti, Tushti, Pushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vasuva.

Meanwhile, Brahma began to create. It began with three formats and five elements, multiplied by their compounds. The eight were the primary tools of creative exercise. The nineth format was Kumara which produced men of spiritual wisdom, sages, holy persons and seers. Sanaka and Sananda were its products. Brahma wanted them to assist him in creative exercise but they made excuses and abandoned him. It hurt Brahma.

Earlier, in the earth chapter of creation, ignorance and negative factors (Tamas) got born followed by solid state living and non-living things like mountains, plants, tree and other immovables. Beasts and birds came later followed by humans at later stage. This part of creation immensely pleased and satisfied Brahma. But the betrayal of his own son-like Kumara products was a great disappointment. To sad Brahma, Vishnu advised to seek the grace of Shiva. So, Brahma made a penance to propitiate Shiva.

Manifests Rudra

As prophesied earlier by Shiva, from the central part of the forehead, just above eyes of Brahma, Lord manifested as Ardhanareeshwara (half manhalf woman figure) accompanied by a host of divine guards and servitors called ganas. In this way the Rudra dimension of Shiva materialised.

It was the destroyer aspect of Shiva. Meanwhile, the creation of Brahma was stagnating. No regeneration was taking place, the creatures were just ageing without dying or falling ill. Shiva had manifested as ‘half-man half-

women’ form to convey the message that regeneration was possible only through interaction between the two sexes. He explained that to Brahma orally as well. Brahma was advised to create creatures in gender format and the species who would be subject to birth, death and other calamities. So advising and duly blessing creator, Rudra vanished.


Freshly advised and empowered Brahma began to create characters. By mixing subjective elements of meaning, touch, taste, smell and beauty with five objective elements of earth, space, fire, air and water plus compounds, dimensions, statics, dynamics and calibration of time spans, Brahma shaped characters. Marichi got created from his eyes, heart produced Bhrigu, Angirasa was born of his head etc.

By the grace of Shiva and inspiration provided by Rudra, Brahma transformed half of his person into female anatomy. The interaction between the gender halves produced a male called Manu and a female in Shataroopa. The too were paired by Creator to beget two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanpada, and three daughters, Akooti, Devahooti and Prasooti. They were respectively coupled with Ruchi, Kardama and Daksha.

Yajna and Dakshina were born to Akooti. Their pairing produced a dozen sons. Devahooti and Prasooti begot large broods of daughters. Thirteen of them namely Lakshmi, Shraddha, Dhriti, Tushti, Pushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vasuva, Santhi, Siddhi and Kirti were all married to Dharma.

The others; Khyati, Neeti, Sambhuti, Samriti, Preeti, Kshama, Sannuti, Anuroopa, Voorja, Swaha and Suddha were paired with Bhrigu, Dharma, Marichi, Angirasa, Paulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashistha, Agni and Poorvaja respectively. The grooms were all either sages or deities. Those pairs gave birth to great many brilliant characters and brightened up the world.

Sixty daughters Daksha had, out of which he gave thirteen to Kashyapa and one ‘Sati’ to Shiva. Others went to various other legendary characters. Kashyapa’s spouses gave birth to broods that filled the earth world and populated it in the form of trees, plants, insects, devas, rakshasas, humans, giants, kinnars, gandharvas, yakshas, men-o-snakes, demons, sages, peers, holymen, kings, warriors, rishis, birds, mountains etc. That is why it is said the earth is Kashyapised world.

Shiva’s consort Sati was manifestation of His latent powers (Shakti) called Uma. Sati later reincarnated as Parvati when her Sati form got immolated. Uma later manifested in several alternate or secondary forms. She became Laxmi, Saraswati and Parvati to couple with the Trinity members and Kaali to assist Rudra.

Her secondary manifestations are : Durga, Bhagwati, Amba, Chamunda, Jaya, Vijaya, Jayanti, Bhadrakaali, Kameshwari, Kaamada, Mridani and Sarvamangla. These primary legends remain the same through ages, only adding new episodes, manifestations, villains and sub-legends with the passage of time.

The domain of Shiva dominates all other domains. In His domain Supreme Deity lives with His consort Power Latent (Shakti). Kailasha is His domain that survives all dooms and remains resplendent as ever. Such were the revelations made by Brahma to his son, Narada and I, Soota, pass it on to you all holy sirs led by Shaunaka’.

Sage Soota revealed to his holy audience the 108 names for Shiva to be invoked in his worship. He also explained the importance of each name. For that very reason a normal Rudraksha mala has 108 grains.

Gunanidhi Tale

Narrated Soota :
Narada wanted to know when Shiva had shifted to Kailasha in the form of Deity Supreme, Maheshwara and His episode involving Kubera. What tale Brahma told Narada in reply, I, Soota, relate the same to you. A pious and faithful brahmin called Yajnadutta lived in Kampilya, a long time ago. That brahmin was blessed with a promising son whom the happy father had named Gunanidhi, literally meaning ‘repository of fine attributes’.

After the boy’s sacred thread ceremony (Upanayana) he was sent to a guru to learn letters and gain wisdom. The boy progressed into youth but unfortunately fell in a bad company and picked up all bad and vice habits. Yajnadutta had been too busy to notice the degeneration of his son. The mother was blind in affection for her son to see anything going wrong. Spoilt rotten, Gunanidhi took to gambling and womanising.

All the money he laid his hands on went into those vices. Then, needing more money he began to thieve and sell the stolen goods. Once he gambled away all he had made. Meanwhile, his father, while going to river to take his bath entrusted his precious gold ring to his wife. The wife placed it in a niche of a wall. The son, Gunanidhi saw her doing that and stole the ring.

He sold it to a man and gambled away the proceeds. Incidentally, Yajnadutta ran into the person who was wearing the ring his wife had lost. Upon enquiry the man revealed that he had bought the ring from a youngman named Gunanidhi.

Yajnadutta now realised that what lately he had been hearing bad things about his son were true. The son learnt that his father had come to know of his misdeeds. Gunanidhi fled to avoid being confronted by his anguished father.

Gunanidhi went hungry for a couple of days. He flopped under a tree famished and exhausted. Suddenly flavours of richly cooked food wafted into his nostrils. A faithful was carrying some food offering to the nearby Shiva temple.

Gunanidhi followed that devotee to temple. He waited at some distance for an opportunity to steal the offering. He saw the worship and prayers being sung. When the devotees fell asleep he sneaked into the sanctum where infront of Shiva idol offerings were placed.

The wick of the lamp had slipped into the oil and flame was about to flicker off. Gunanidhi quickly tore a strip off his kurta, dipped it in oil, lit it and put into the lamp to serve as substitute wick. Then he tried to hurry out with the bundle of stolen food

offering. But he happened to stumble against a sleeping devotee who screamed in fright. The devotees woke up and grabbed the thief. Gunanidhi got beaten up and a blow of a thick stick smashed his skull. He died instantly.

The agents (dootas) of death arrived to despatch the sinful soul of Gunanidhi to burning hell. But ganas (elite guards of Shiva) intervened saying that Gunanidhi had earned a place in the divine domain of Shiva by participating in Shiva worship, lighting the lamp after fasting for two days before his death, although done unwittingly yet the reward stood granted by the grace of Lord. He had been salvaged.

As the son of the king of Utakala, Gunanidhi took rebirth by a new name Damana. Damana lived a life of piety, devotion and nobility. In his next birth he was born as the son of the grandson of Brahma. He had brought forward the goodness of his previous life and by the grace of Maheshwara, remembered all about his past lives.

An ardent devotee of Shiva he remained all his life. On the bank of Ganga he planted a holy Lingam and made penance on empty stomach. His shrivelled skin draped his skeletal emaciated body. Propitiated with his intense devotion Shiva appeared to him along with his divine consort. They blessed their faithful with the boon of a divine body and renamed him ‘Kubera’. By the grace of Divine Couple, Kubera later gained the rule of Alkapuri. Shiva went to live near Alkapuri when Kubera wished for His proximity in a boon.

In His new domain Shiva rattled his hand tambour (Dumroo). Its fierce beat echoed through the cosmos. All celestial beings rushed to Shiva to feast their eyes on him. So did sages, holymen, faithfuls and hosts of His own ganas led by their chiefs with folded hands praying and making their obeisance. The celestial builder instantly created palaces to host them all. Shiva duly settled in his abode. Later, all the guests returned to their own abodes. Thus, Shiva granted His proximity to His favoured faithful Kubera who. became the lord of divine treasury.

Sandhya And Kama

Queried Shaunaka and holymen :
‘Learned Soota! How could consort of Rudra be the daughter of Daksha and that of Himavanta at the same time?’

Responded scholiast Soota :
Thereby hangs a divine tale behind this mystery. Hearing to it is very auspicious and blessingful. Listen with great attention.

Once Brahma was holding his court when all of a sudden a beauteous female popped out of his heart followed by a youngman of incredible handsomeness who had a bow and flower-head arrows in his quiver. The youngman asked for some specific duty. The creator, impressed by his beauty told him to romantically charge all the creatures with his flower arrows.

Brahma proclaimed that none, not even a deity shall escape from being sexually impassioned at the charge of his arrows. Kama was the name youngman got formally but was also called Manmadha, the enchanter, because he bewitched every mind anywhere.

To celebrate his empowerment Kama shot his flower arrows and everyone there in Brahma’s court became infatuated and lustily ogled at the pretty female who had preceded the young enchanter. The deity of righteousness (Dharma) did not like this shameful scene. He prayed to Shiva. Meanwhile, Brahma broke into sweat fearing rebuke from Shiva. The sweat shed by him produced 64 pitriganas (progenitors) who came to be known as ‘Agnisthomas’.

The female that preceded Kama was called Sandhya being born of deep concentration of Brahma. In answer to the prayer of Dharma, Shiva materialised there and rebuked Brahma for creating erotic scene in his open court by empowering Kama. As Sandhya had happened to see Shiva, she became knower of Shiva mysticism by His grace. Sandhya was recognised as the mother of progenitors (pitriganas).

Brahma felt humiliated at being upbraided by Shiva and as Kama had caused that, he put a curse on the latter to get burnt to ashes by the third eye of Shiva. It shocked Kama. Trembling in fear Kama prayed to Creator that he had acted at Brahma’s own command.

He was merely doing his duty, he claimed. There was some merit in his claim but Brahma reasoned that his empowerment as kama was not meant to create scenes of eroticism or orgy. Some discipline, moderation and modesty was required. Although Brahma admitted that the sexual urge could blind anyone. Softening up, Brahma said Shiva himself would find some way to save him.

As a divine coincidence, at the very same moment Daksha shed sweat which transformed into a damsel of incredible beauty and grace. Bewitching was she. Rati was her name. And at the very first sight Kama fell in love with her passionately. Their union was solemnised by the express will of Daksha and Brahma.

Penance Of Sandhya

Having sighted Shiva at the very time of her origin Sandhya was naturally motivated into making an intense penance to earn the grace of Power Supreme. She was blaming herself for arousing the passions of males including her brother (Kama) and father (Brahma) in the court for that she had taken a vow to burn herself to death.

Meanwhile, Daksha had given all his 27 daughters to Chandradeva in marriage. They were all stars or constellations bearing the corresponding names like Revati, Ashwani, Rohini etc. Chandra loved Rohini more than the others. This discrimination was not liked by 26 others. They complained to Brahma about it. Brahma took them to Sandhya who was engaged in her own penance mission. At last Shiva got propitiated and appeared to her and granted her three boons as spelled out by her-

  • Humans will become conscious of the sexual desire only after attaining the age of puberty, and not before that, and her husband not be a lecher.
  • She should be rated as the greatest woman penance maker ever born and
  • Anyone who casts an amorous or lustful glance at her, except her husband, shall turn into a eunuch.

After gaining the boons, she bowed to Shiva. He advised her to go to the bank of river Chandrabhaga where Sage Medhatidhi was holding a twelve year long yajna to lift the curse put on Chandradeva by Daksha for subjecting his daughters to injustice. In that holy fire Sandhya could offer her sacrifice and redeem her vow.

She would gain the husband whoever she thought of before jumping into fire, Shiva revealed. By the grace of Deity Supreme she could do it remaining invisible. In the holy fire pit of Jyotisthomayajna, Sandhya jumped and out of flames emerged a girl having a glowing body. Sage Medhatidhi adopted her as his daughter and gave her the name ‘Arundhati’.

Later, she stayed with Guru Vashistha to gain the spiritual knowledge. She adored him and got his image imprinted on her heart. Arundhati made it known that she would accept only Vashistha as her husband. The sages, seers and Brahma made their union possible. In this way, Arundhati got a saintly husband, she had prayed for to Shiva. And she already was the greatest penance maker and sacrificing woman as she had wished for her boon.

To the delight of Soota, the holymen and Shaunaka paid rich tributes to the glory of Arundhati.  Exhorted the group then to Soota.
“O sage! Tell us about the divine glory of Sati and her full story.”

The Holy Tale Of Sati

Happily complied the enlightened Soota :
Brahma carried the grudge against Shiva for rebuking him in his own court before others during the Kama episode. He thought what did prosaic and ascetic like Shiva know the power of passion and the force of romantic feelings? Shiva must experience it and know, he muttered.

So, Brahma urged Kama to work his spell on Shiva with the arrows having flower heads blessed by him, the creator. To help Kama he created Vasanta Sena, the spring season of love, romance pollinated air, humming bees, birds crooning mating calls, blooms etc. But they failed to arouse Shiva.

Dismayed was Brahma. Kama told him that Shiva sat with burning eyes totally unresponsive to their passion charges. He was scared of getting burnt to ashes. Brahma sighed unhappily.

The creator sought the help of Vishnu who also wanted Shiva to have normal love life because His ascetic attitude and stern approach was not helpful for sustenance. Vishnu advised that Brahma and Daksha may invoke Shiva’s maya aspect to seek her help. Accordingly, Brahma asked Daksha to pray to Shakti (Mahamaya) of Shiva to take incarnation as his daughter.

In answer to penance of Brahma Mahamaya manifested before him. Brahma asked her to help them arouse romantic sentiment in Shiva to have Him desire for a wife. Mahamaya wondered if it was Shiva’s own will expressing itself through Brahma. She promised to try and materialised before Daksha who prayed her to incarnate as his daughter. She granted his prayer.

Daksha joined his wife Veerni and copulated. In due course of time Mahamaya arrived as their female child. They named her Sati. From the very birth she worshipped Shiva, sang prayers and odes to Him. When she grew up into her teens Brahma went to her and reminded her of her mission of life and the purpose of incarnation.

Daksha also kept encouraging her in her endeavour to win Shiva. Sati kept all fasts prescribed for Shiva faithfuls. She would perform all Shiva rites and obeyed the regimes of His worship. Nandivrata was one of them. Then, she engaged herself in intense penance to propitiate her idol, Lord Shiva.

Meanwhile, Vishnu and Brahma went to Kailasha to pray to Shiva to urge Him to become a familyman to inspire the cotinuation of creation process. Shiva said as a divine Yogi, He always remained withdrawn into deep meditation delinked from outside world. If he took a wife she must be like a yogini who must only get into heat whenever rarely He felt amorous. The visiting divinities gradually mentioned about the daughter of Daksha who had all the qualities He was desiring and her undivided devotion to Him.

Shiva knew about the penance of Sati because He was feeling the heat of her devotion. He materialised before her in His glorious masculine resplendence. He revealed to her that He was ready to accept her as His wife. He knew if it came to granting her a boon she would ask Him to be her husband. Sati demanded that their union be properly solemnised in the presence of her parents and all others with due traditions.

Shiva and Sati became husband and wife in the grand marriage celebration and rites performed on the 13th day of the ascending moon phase of Chaitra month under Uttara Phalguni star. It was attended by all the deities, celestials, holy men and all kinds of weird characters of the spirit world.

During the ceremony Brahma committed yet another outrage. As Shiva and Sati were going around the holy fire for seven rounds (saptapadi) Brahma caught the sight of incredibly pretty feet of Sati. Out of curiosity he cast a glance at the face of the owner of those feet. The facial beauty of Sati so sexually titilated Brahma that his male organ would not help shedding four drops of semen. Shiva stared at the red face of Brahma sensing what he had done. He raised his trident to punish Brahma.

At this sudden development all those present at the ceremony got struck with fear and shock. Most of them were baffled. Daksha and some sages rushed to Shiva to calm Him down who looked in raging fury. Vishnu also ran to Deity Supreme. The sight of him appeared to cool down the temper of Shiva. Meanwhile, Brahma prayed for mercy.

Shiva made Brahma touch his forehead and there appeared a tattoo of Nandi bull borne face of Shiva. Brahma was asked to make hard penance. Whenever anyone questioned him about the tattoo Brahma was to recount true episode behind it and his own shameful role in it. Every ridicule would lessen the burden of his sin, Shiva proclaimed.

When the ceremonies were over Shiva felt sorry for old Brahma. To assuage his feelings He asked Brahma to seek a boon. Brahma asked for that very venue to be made a holy and sacred spot as Kalyana Mandap. Shiva obliged and said any faithful visiting that spot on the holy wedding day to worship each year shall earn His blessings and get freed of all mundane wishes.

This episode is known as Dakshayani-Kalyana, the marriage of daughter of Daksha. Bringing this episode to mind by anyone would gain the grace of Deity Supreme and a wife as blessing. A faithful woman hearing the recital of this katha will beget son. Thus revealed Soota and went on:

Back at Kailasha, in the new marital bliss Shiva once confided to Sati the nine easy ways to propitiate Him and gain His grace. Those nine ways of devotion were-

  • Hearing (kathas related to Him and His Puranic wisdom).
  • Singing (prayers, odes and hymns in His praise).
  • Remembering (His glory, deeds and names)
  • Serving (the noble causes of others taking them as His forms).
  • Servitude (living with the spirit of humility of devotion surrendering all to My grace).
  • Worship (of me with true devotional spirit confirming to all rites, rituals, customs and regimes).
  • Obeisance (making to Me in true faith and trust taking Me to be the ultimate redeemer and deliverer).
  • Friendliness (to Me as only a true friend proves helpful in need and I as divinely true friend shall get my devotee friend across the sea of mundane woes).
  • Surrender (the soul to Me), all the deeds and consequences to My grace).

He revealed there was little difference between the knowledge (spiritual) and devotion. The latter was more rewarding as it involved direct approach to Power Supreme instead of going through various channels of regimes.

For an enlightened one all the mundane attachments and exercises were meaningless as he mentally withdraws from the physical realities. But a devotee continues to live in mundane world in comfort and participates in its joys and pleasures while spiritually benefiting from the grace of Shiva.

Propitiated by direct prayer or worship Shiva blesses his devotee more readily as the emotion of devotion is more humble and pure here. A jnani, enlightened one is more dedicated to his own exercise, its correctness and achievement. For him My blessing is just reward of his spiritual toil. The jnani begets some pride in his success. But My devotee is totally dependent on My grace and no wall of pride exists between Me and My devotee.

In this sense, enlightenment (Jnan) without devotion is worthless. It also loses value when pride or egoism poison it. The sentiment of devotion (Bhakti) is the most important. Without it knowledge and asceticism is as meaningless as honey without its sweetness.

Shiva admitted to Sati that His devotees were His only treasure. For them He would burn even god of death, Yama to ashes. His devotee was more dear to Him even than Sati herself. Shiva blessed Sati with comprehension (Jnan) of His mysticism, the most important fact of which was that Shiva and divine power source Uma were indivisible and inseparable. That was basic truth of Shiva, the very spirit of eternal joy unlimited, unfathomable and inexhaustible.

Welled up tears of joy in the eyes of Soota and his audience as this secret of true devotion to Shiva was revealed. The holy men sang the odes to Shiva. Beseeched was the narrator by holymen: O know-all Soota! Please tell us how enmity began between Shiva and his father-in-law Daksha?
Sighed sadly Soota before unravelling the episode:

Grudge Of Daksha Against Shiva

Once in an ancient age many sages and spiritual seers converged at Prayaga and decided to perform a grand yajna. It was attended by celestial lords, divine sages, gods, deities, prajapati etc. besides earth based holy men. Shiva was also present. Sometime later, Daksha arrived. Everyone there rose up to pay respect to Prajapati Daksha. But Shiva ignored his entry and kept sitting. Daksha took it as a deliberate affront to him.

So, he declared that for the misconduct Shiva shall not be offered any oblations in yajnas and his name won’t be invoked in religious ceremonies in future. Shiva’s carrier Nandi pleaded that Prajapati’s action was improper since a brahmin (Daksha) could not put a curse on Shiva.

It further angered Daksha and he debarred all Shiva ganas (special guards) from attending functions conducted by divine sages and seers. The ganas were told to parade themselves as weirds having ashsmeared bodies and matted hair like their master.

In retaliation Nandi shot back a volley of curses at Daksha. He bellowed, ‘Be brahmins condemnd to poverty, living on charity or begging like mendicants. Karma pedagogues they shall be, never attaining any enlightenment or understanding the basic truth of the religion. So will Daksha also be, no redeemer of soul or inspirer of spiritual upliftment. Merely pedantic he shall be and a goat faced! Become demons, many of the brahmins will!’ Shiva admonished Nandi for crossing the limit and failing to use restraint.

Most of the participants forgot the incident taking it as mere outburst of frayed tempers that deserved no serious thought. But Daksha would not forget and he carried the grudge against Shiva. Under the spell of maya he swore to take revenge on Shiva. For that very purpose he organised a great yajna to which all were invited except Shiva, His gana guards and known faithfuls.

The venue was at a place close to Haridwar. Sage Dadheechi discovered that Shiva was not invited to the event. He asked Daksha reason for it because the sage thought without Shiva the yajna would be incomplete and would not bear any fruit.

Daksha explained that the absence of a weird one who lived in cremation ground smeared in funeral ash, wore elephant pelt, heap of matted hair on head with cannabis infected mind inside and snakes creeping over, should not matter and no harm would come to yajna. All the celestials and Lorci Vishnu had already agreed to attend. ‘So, why should anyone worry over Shiva not coming? Daksha asked. Not convinced Dadheechi walked away in a huff.

Meanwhile, when Sati heard about her father’s yajna she expressed her wish to take part in it and use the opportunity to meet her mother and sisters. Shiva advised her that going to a ceremony uninvited was improper. But Sati said she wanted an explanation from her sire for not inviting them. Shiva sighed feeling very bad about it.

Sati went to the yajna but was not received with any respect. The family ignored her. Her father spoke harsh words to her and made fun of Shiva in the presence of everyone. She noticed at the yajna venue that there was no portion of oblation set aside in the name of Shiva. She wanted to know the reason. Daksha sarcastically remarked that oblations were meant for gods or deities and not for Shiva who was more like an ogre.

Sati flew in a fury and cursed all the impostoring deities present there and the shameless sages who were conducting that yajna of no merit. She thundered, ‘What yajna is this where the Deity Supreme is being overlooked?’ Daksha countered her by using more invectives against Shiva.

Eugulfed in anguish and anger at Daksha’s blasphemy against her Lord, Sati could take it no more. She took some water in her hand and invoked Maheshwara before jumping into the leaping flames of holy firepit of yajna to the horror of everyone there. The sages and priests screamed terror struck. The gods and deities trembled in fear of impending calamity.

The body guards (Shiva ganas) of Sati went berserk. Many killed themselves in grief. Many of them created mayhem around killing everyone in sight or in their way. Sage Bhrigu performed impromptu havana and created some divine warriors to take on maddened Shiva guards. The two groups clashed. Surviving ganas fled to Kailasha to tell their Master about the ghastly happening. The gods, deities and sages sought protection of Vishnu but he was himself confused and in fear of the wrath of Shiva.

Then, a divine prophecy was heard which asked Vishnu to leave that place and leave Daksha to his fate, whose face would be burnt and his followers done to death.

Meanwhile, Narada had revealed the sequence of events that had taken place at yajna venue. Then, the beaten away ganas arrived there. In furious mood Shiva pulled a plait off his matted hair nest and began to whip the mountain with it. From that mystic rite a terrifying male guard called Veerbhadra and a female avenger named Mahakali emerged. The male guard bowed to his Master and he asked for a command. Shiva told him to destroy the yajna of Daksha.

Like a raging storm Veerbhadra hit the venue of the yajna of Daksha. He went on a rampage and killing spree there. Vishnu told him that he was there merely to guard the yajna as his divine duty but Shiva’s will overruled everything else: He asked Veerbhadra to provide him with some screen to enable him to get out of that place to flash to his Vaikuntha domain. Veerbhadra covered him with arrows and Vishnu fled.

After wreaking havoc at yajna venue the guard went back to Kailasha to his Master. As a reward for carrying out His command dutifully, Shiva appointed him chief of His guards.
Wondered Shaunaka and the holy men;
‘Why did Vishnu have to go to that yajna at all?’
Smiled Sage Soota and revealed:
‘It was all due to the curse put on him by Dadheechi. I will relate that tale to you because naturally you must be very curious about it.’
All the heads nodded in agreement.

Kshuva And Dadheechi Tale

Sage Dadheechi and king Kshuva were bosom friends but their idols were different. The sage was devotee of Shiva and the king worshipped Vishnu. Each of them thought his choice of deity was better than the other one. One day they had an argument over the issue of superiority castewise. Heated exchanges took place. Sage was a brahmin and the king obviously kshatriya.

In a fit of anger Dadheechi hit Kshuva on his head with his knuckles. Kshuva hit back with his diamond hard vajra. It felled the sage. As he went down he invoked Shukracharya, the guru of demons. The guru imparted the knowledge of a great mantra to him and with that mantra the sage propitiated Shiva.

When asked by Shiva to spell out his three wishes, the sage, Dadheechi said he wanted his bones to be as hard as diamonds. As additional boons he asked for invincibility and everlasting dignity. His wishes were granted by Shiva.

Dadheechi went straight to Kshuva and landed his kick on the letter’s chest to settle the old score. Kshuva again hit back with his vajra. But this time the sage was not hurt. Kshuva realised that his rival must have got some boon from his deity Shiva. He too retired to the forest and made penance to propitiate Vishnu who obligingly materialised to bless him.

The omniscient Vishnu revealed that he could not win against the sage since the latter had been booned invincibility by Shiva. The king prayed that in some way Dadheechi had to be taught a lesson for humiliating him in the presence of his courtiers. Vishnu promised him that he would do something.

In the disguise of a brahmin Vishnu went to the ashram of Dadheechi but the latter recognised him. Vishnu asked the sage to seek forgiveness of Kshuva just to oblige him. Dadheechi would not agree. Vishnu lost his temper and tried to use his Chakra but it got stuck in the air. He tried other divine tricks but the sage rendered them futile, further angering Vishnu.

Then, to bring peace Shiva, Brahma and Kshuva came there. Kshuva prayed to Dadheechi that he was the real culprit and sought the forgiveness of the sage. The sage forgave his friend but he put a curse on Vishnu and his faithful gods to get dishonoured at the yajna of Daksha later.

With his power Sage Dadheechi revived all those who had got killed at the yajna venue. He thought whatever had happened was caused by the maya of his lord Shiva or as His will.

Shiva in Mourning

After the departure of Veerbhadra, all those who had gone into hiding came out to mourn for the dead before Dadheechi came to revive most of them. Vishnu and Brahma went to Kailasha with all others to pray for peace to Shiva. Shiva descended to see the spot of yajna where all those dreadful things had happened. The scene moved Deity Supreme.

He rebuked Veerbhadra for. indiscriminate killing of even sages and holymen. Shiva revived those who still lay dead inspite of the effort of Dadheechi. Daksha’s head had been destroyed. So, Shiva cut off the head of a goat and fixed it on Daksha torso. The revived Daksha prayed to Shiva and begged for pardon.

Shiva mourned for the dead Sati for the benefit of the outer world. As her body had been totally burnt there was no question of her revival. The fact was that she could never be separated from Shiva. Loss of Sati just meant she had gone back into Shiva as Uma, His power base.

Sage Soota remarked, “That is the way the Divine Duo work. Uma had taken birth as Daksha’s baby to grow as Sati for physical union with Shiva. Then she went back into him as Uma. She would again incarnate as the daughter of king Himavanta to be Parvati and marry Shiva yet again.”

Continued Soota the narration:
It requires a great character to beget Uma (Mahamaya) as one’s daughter. In his own right Daksha was a reputed Prajapati who commanded great respect of all. He faulted because association with Shiva and Uma always entailed the danger of the tricks of maya power. Himavanta was also a great character, fit to be the sire of Mahamaya’s next incarnation as Parvati.

One of the daughters of Daksha named Swadha was married to Pitaras. This couple begot three female children called Mainka, Dhanya and Kalavati. The three are parts of great legends Maina was destined to become the wife of Himavanta to give birth to Parvati, the incarnation of Mahamaya (Uma) and have Shiva as her son-inlaw. Kalavati was reborn as Radha of Gokul and Krishna’s legendary beloved. In her rebirth Dhanya became wife of king Janaka and the mother-in-law of Rama.

The audience of holymen heard these revelations of Soota in stunned silence.
Was interjected a new tale here by Sage Soota :

Vajaranga-Taraka Story

Prajapati Kashyapa had a wife named Diti who bore him a valiant demonic son called Vajaranga who once defeated the celestial lord, Indra and took him prisoner. But he had to be released when Brahma and other celestials intervened since gods were the sons of the other wife of the same sage.

Basically Vajaranga was noble natured and was a good pupil of Brahma himself. He detested gods only because they were recipients of discriminate favours of Vishnu who always patronised Indra and his gods going out of the way. He married Varangi. So devoted a wife she proved that once pleased Vajaranga asked her to wish a boon.

She asked for a son who should trouble Hari (Vishnu) and conquer all the three domains. He approved her wishes and went to forests to make penance some time later. After his departure Varangi produced a son who had all the signs to make her wish come true. Sage Kashyapa named him Taraka.

Taraka was given the best trainings and his mother and grandma educated him in the best demonic values and traditions. Then, Taraka went away to make penance to propitiate divine powers to gain para powers. His devotion and intense penance began to shake the worlds. Brahma had to appear to grant him a boon. In boon Taraka asked for immunity from death at the hands of Vishnu or Shiva. Only someone born of a high order spiritualist could kill him. The boon was granted as Creator found no disqualifying point in it.

After gaining the boon Taraka went berserk. He thrashed Chandradeva, plundered Kubera, put a scare in Yamaraja and kicked Indra out of his court. All the tormented celestials ran to Brahma seeking protection. Brahma took them all to Vishnu. They confabulated and decided to pray Shiva to marry to beget a son to deal with the demon.

Meanwhile, Mahamaya had decided to incarnate as the daughter of Himavanta after her tragedy as the daughter of Daksha and his ill treatment to her. Maina had by then married Himavanta. The gods went to meet the couple to persuade them to beget as their child, the incarnation of Uma.

Very disciplined and ardent devotee of Lord the king Himavanta was. He and his queen Maina were leading a very happy and peaceful marital life. The couple agreed to oblige the gods. After proper initiation they made penance to propitiate Mahamaya who duly appeared to them and granted a boon to take incarnation as their daughter, their second child. She revealed that they will beget a son first.

Arrival Of Parvati

As was predicted Maina gave birth to a son for her first child. He was named Mainak. Then, a reasonable time later Maina was again in the family way. During the initial weeks of pregnancy she appeared a bit down and dull. But as the bulge increased she became radiant and her skin glowed. Her eyes became dreamy and her countenance was ever cheerful to the delight of her husband and family.

All the customs and rituals were gone through. In due course of time the baby arrived crying like an ordinary new-born. Because of her darkish hue the family called the baby ‘Kalli’. But being daughter of mountains (parvats) she came to be known as Parvati. At due age Parvati got her formal education and cultural training.

One day Sage Narada arrived to see Himavanta. He was received with reverence and beseated. As usual the parents wanted him to foretell the future of their son and daughter. The sage studied the palm of Parvati and announced she would beget the Kailasha lord, Shiva as her husband. It worried the parents. How could a yogi who ever remained lost in deep meditations withdrawn from the king Himavanta was.

He and his queen Maina were leading a very happy and peaceful marital life. The couple agreed to oblige the gods. After proper initiation they made penance to propitiate Mahamaya who duly appeared to them and granted a boon to take incarnation as their daughter, their second child. She revealed that they will beget a son first.

Arrival Of Parvati

As was predicted Maina gave birth to a son for her first child. He was named Mainak. Then, a reasonable time later Maina was again in the family way. During the initial weeks of pregnancy she appeared a bit down and dull. But as the bulge increased she became radiant and her skin glowed. Her eyes became dreamy and her countenance was ever cheerful to the delight of her husband and family.

All the customs and rituals were gone through. In due course of time the baby arrived crying like an ordinary new-born. Because of her darkish hue the family called the baby ‘Kalli’. But being daughter of mountains (parvats) she came to be known as Parvati. At due age Parvati got her formal education and cultural training.

One day Sage Narada arrived to see Himavanta. He was received with reverence and beseated. As usual the parents wanted him to foretell the future of their son and daughter. The sage studied the palm of Parvati and announced she would beget the Kailasha lord, Shiva as her husband.

It worried the parents. How could a yogi who ever remained lost in deep meditations withdrawn from the world agree to become a family man? How will any woman be able to attract the attention of such an ascetic character and make him take her as his wife?

Himavanta revealed his doubts to Narada. The sage laughed at this. It was true that Shiva had earlier married the daughter of Daksha but would He ever be able to get over with her memories or grief?

Narada revealed to Himavanta that his daughter Parvati was the reborn Sati, incarnation of the same divinity Mahamaya. She was born just to marry Shiva. Parvati was the outcome of all those past episodes, tragedies, curses and boons.

Before leaving the sage advised the host family to worship Shiva and prepare Parvati for the union with her Lord. Parvati too started making penance to gain Shiva as her husband.

Pining Shiva

Meanwhile, Shiva mourned the demise of Sati all the time although He knew as Uma she was vested in him yet emotionally he pined for Sati. To get over it He started to make a penance. During this exercise His forehead shed a drop of sweat which transformed into a baby having four arms, cute face, beautiful body and vermilion complexion.

The mother earth suckled him and agreed to bring him up. Bhavna was the name he got. The grown up Bhavna went to Kashi and made penance to propiti to Shiva who duly was pleased. He blessed Bhavna and told him to go to the domain of Venus and become a celestial body, a planet. Thus was Bhavna vested in the sky.

When Shiva returned to Kailasha, Himavanta arrived there with Parvati. They made obeisance to the lord of Kailasha. Then, Himavanta asked Shiva for His permission to accept Parvati in His service. Shiva would not agree to it. He told Parvati that he was a loner purush (man or body).

But Parvati argued that no body could be a loner. She said even Shiva was not above nature. The nature was no illusion otherwise all penances and meditations would become meaningless. Prakriti (Nature) was an indivisible part of a Purush (body) she maintained. And of course, a woman represented that Prakriti.

Shiva gave up. He admitted that He was merely testing her devotion, dedication and resolve. He commended her for her boldness in speaking to Him fearlessly. He agreed to allow her to stay to take care of his meditational needs.

Parvati served Shiva like a selfless maid while Shiva took her for His ardent devotee. So, the pair continued without evincing any amorous interest in each other. But deep down somewhere it hurt the woman ego of Parvati. Inspite of some disappointment she went on serving her Lord hoping for Him to show signs of thaw. It was another test of her character. Meanwhile, the gods and deities were losing their patience. They wanted Taraka demon dealt with as soon as possible by the son of Shiva out of Parvati. The demon lord Tarkasura was tormenting them.

Indra again sought the help of Kama to arouse romantic feelings in Shiva with his passion arrows. Kama had no choice. He set out with Vasantasena and his wife Rati in a chariot to enchant Shiva. Vasanta was told to create romantic environment to facilitate his mission. Then, Kama saw Parvati there. The beauty of Parvati stunned him and he himself felt enchanted.

Kama shot his passion flower headed arrow at Shiva. The latter wondered why all of a sudden.He was being haunted by amorous thoughts amidst his meditational exercise. He felt like singing a love song addressed to Parvati. Then, He realised the reason. He had been hit by a passion arrow of god of love Kama.

Seeing his arrow magic working Kama was so enthused that he shot more arrows, one after another. But by then Shiva had regained control over himself and all the arrows proved ineffective. Kama was dismayed and calamity for him was coming. He prayed to all the gods he could think of for protection. It was no use. One fiery look of Shiva’s third eye turned Kama into a heap of ash.

Rati screamed and began to wail for her beloved Kama. Deities rushed to console her. Someone advised her to preserve the ashes of Kama for some divine force or Shiva Himself bring him back to life in favourable situations. She complied with the advice.

The gods, deities and Rati went to Shiva and prayed to Him to allow his benign aspect to overtake His angst. Shiva relented and announced in propitiated mood that Kama would exist in noncorpus state till Vishnu took incarnation as Krishna in a future age and Kama would get reborn as his son, Pradyumna. Shiva predicted Pradyumna will get abducted by demon Shambar who would later get killed by the former. Rati shall be living in that demonic’s town and would unite with her mate, reborn Kama. Shiva’s third eye was still shooting flames. Brahma directed the flames into the depths of the sea to let them expend their heat harmlessly.

After Kama got burnt, Parvati left Kailasha and went to her parents. She appeared to have a be fuddled mind. Everyone got worried over her as she kept up incessant chant of ‘Shiva-Shiva and Shiva’. That word she recanted as mantra. Indra urged Narada to pay a visit to Himavanta-Maina household and guide Parvati. Narada gladly obliged.

He revealed to Parvati that the only way to gain Shiva was through penance. Shiva was beyond the power of physical female beauty but within the spiritual beauty that He could not ignore. Narada taught her Pentasyllable Mantra of Shiva.

Parvati left her home to live in wilds. There in cave she lived making intense penance by sitting in meditative pose incanting mantra dedicated to Shiva. She lived on wild berries and roots. Later she gave up eating those as well. Her penance making continued.

Even the wild creatures of that habitat began to sit around her to join in her meditation. They too ate rarely. Thus, years rolled on. Once Himavanta and Maina came to the wilds to see their daughter. They were pained to see her famished state but her resolve was as strong as ever.

The two went to Kailasha and told Shiva how their daughter was engaged in penance making for the past six thousand years to gain Him as her husband. They prayed to Shiva to show his grace to her. The gods too visited the mountain abode of Shiva to pray to him to marry Parvati and beget a son to deliver them from the menace of Taraka. They said as penance makers Shiva and Parvati were alike and were made for each other. Shiva, then decided to test the devotion of penance making Parvati.

He sent a group of seven sages to advise Parvati against marrying Him pointing out his undesirabilities as a family man. They failed to deter Parvati. Then, as a final rite, Parvati prepared a pyre to immolate herself as her penance was not being rewarded. Shiva arrived there in disguise of a brahmin. Parvati welcomed Him and treated Him as an honoured guest.

Upon enquiry by the host He replied He was just an ascetic who went about helping out people in need of spiritual advice. He asked about her. She revealed her story truthfully and confided that she was about to immolate herself. The visitor asked Parvati to forget about ash smeared and cremation ground dweller weird called Shiva and opt for a decent prince of some rich kingdom.

Parvati did not like it. She hatefully stared at her guest and warned not to use any blasphemy against her idol Shiva. Had he been not a brahmin she would have thrown him out for his dastardly speech, she screamed. At this Shiva showed Himself in His true form. Parvati stood stunned for a while, then, she gathered her wits and worshipped her idol.

Shiva said that she had won and He was ready to accept her as His betterhalf. Parvati prayed to Him that He approach her father and ask for her hand in line with the tradition.To the amusement of Parvati Shiva arrived at their palace in the guise of a classical dancer called Bhava.

He presented an incredibly perfect item in Tandava Nritya. Queen Maina greatly appreciated it and tried to reward the performer a platterful of diamonds. Bhava said that he had no use for stone gems but he may accept virgin gem of Parvati. Maina refused firmly with a big ‘No’. Himavanta also praised the performance but did not agree to give him his daughter. Bhava then left.

Later, Himavanta and Maina realised that Bhava infact was disguised Shiva. Parvati confirmed it. The royal couple were sorry for not recognising Him correctly and refusing Him the hand of Parvati. They began to think of making amends. Meanwhile, some celestials were having second thoughts about Shiva-Parvati marriage. It could gain Himavanta immediate moksha. Then entire Himalaya would go to become part of Kailasha, Shiva’s domain creating great upheavals and resulting in treasures of Himalayas getting lost for ever or till the day of doom.

They went to Brihaspati, Vishnu and Brahma to pray to work against the alliance of Shiva to Parvati. But none of them wanted to go to Himavanta to talk ill of Shiva and antagonise Him or Mahamaya incarnate Parvati. But Vishnu thought Shiva Himself could dolt without offending anyone. So, they went to Shiva and explained the situation. They requested Him to turn the mind of Himavanta against Parvati’s marriage to Him. Shiva sportingly agreed to oblige.

In the guise of a brahmin he went to the court of Himavanta to advise against marrying Parvati to Shiva. Maina and Parvati were also there. The brahmin at length drew a horrible picture of the consequence of choosing an undeserving groom like Shiva for Princess Parvati. He applied his may a effect as well to turn the minds of Himavanta and Maina against the marriage. Maina even swore that she would never give her daughter to a weird like Shiva. So deeply the maya of Shiva had affected her mind. In a huff she walked to the ‘mourning chamber’ and lay there.

Saptarishi (Seven Seer Group) Intervene

Shiva had played that brahmin prank merely to oblige the gods. Otherwise He was agreeable to the marriage with Parvati, to whom he had made a promise. So, he invoked Saptarishis and asked them to mend the things. They went to Himavanta and found him caught in deep confusions and the sharp protests from women folk against the marriage. The seers consoled Himavanta saying that in the matter of alliances confusions, hurdles, disagreements, various mischiefs were common. All the time it happened, they claimed. They quoted an example for the benefit of Himavanta. It was Seer Vashishtha who spoke:

Example Of Aranya

As you are the king of mountains, Aranya was the king of forests. He was the son of king Mandaranya and ruled over seven islands. A disciple of the sage, Bhrigu he was. He had performed 100 ashwamedha yajnas to qualify for the throne of Indra but he graciously declined to claim the reward taking pity on the incumbent. Aranya had five wives and ten sons and a lovely daughter named Padma whose beauty was the envy of women.

Then, there was an old and wisened sage called Pippalada. A desire for marital life was aroused in him when he saw happy celestial couples enjoying life. He happened to see Padma and fell in love with her.

He went to king Aranya and asked for the hand of Padma in marriage to him. The stunned king could not give a straight answer. How could he give his young daughter to a hoary sage? Pippalada warned that he had the power to accurse complete ruin of the kingdom. The queens were also in quandary. They could not think of giving their pampered daughter to a white haired old penance maker. But the refusal entailed a heavy price that was unacceptable.

The king discussed the matter with his ministers, eldermen, advisors and his queens. The majority thought that the wish of the sage should be honoured instead of risking the complete destruction of the kingdom. Padma agreed to make the sacrifice. So, Sage

Pippalada and young Padma were married in royal” style taking it to be the work of destiny. Himavanta was listening very attentively. He beseeched the seer to reveal the consequences of that mismatched alliance.

Vashistha disclosed that Padma came to no harm or suffered any tragedy. She lived happily with her sage husband in their ashram taking care of his needs devotedly. The life of piety made her radiant. All the sages, seers and women respected her like a goddess.

Once she went to a cataract to fetch water and to wash herself. There Dharma (the god of righteousness) materialised in the guise of a handsome king and praised her beauty. He invited Padma to be his queen and offered all the treasures of the world for her love. But Padma soundly rebuked him and revealed she was a married woman.

Except her dear husband she had no use for any other man in her life, she declared. Padma threatened the adamant king that any more pestering from him would make her put a curse on him to turn him into a doddering old man. And she did. Dharma was very impressed with her devotion to her husband. He showed his true form and praised her piety and truthfulness.

Now Padma was sorry for the curse. The curse could not be withdrawn but was amended by her. In each succeeding yuga Dharma would lose one of his original four legs. Thus, in Kaliyuga Dharma would be on a lone leg. In return Dharma gave a boon for her husband to be young, youthful, strong and virile for ever. Additionally, he would be wiser, accomplished and devoted to Shiva, so Dharma announced.

Because of those boons Padma lived a long happy life full of marital bliss. All her desires and wishes had come true. After hearing this example, Himavanta and Maina were freed of all their misgivings about the eligibility of Shiva as the husband of their Parvati. The Saptarishis conveyed the good news to Shiva and left for their divine abodes.

Recounted Sage Soota the marriage ceremony of Shiva and Parvati: How Shiva turned into a groom, his strange marriage procession consisting of amazing, incredible, frightening, charming, terrifying and mystifying characters, the glory of Parvati family, preparations made for the wedding, traditional lampooning by women, weird remarks, singing, dancing, strange instruments played by Shiva’s retinue, the rituals, rites and customary acts! How Shiva exchanged pleasantaries and joked with the women who came to congratulate him! How the virgins of bride’s side teased the divine groom!

Sage Soota regaled his audience with this description:

The marriage atmosphere had brought Shiva in a jolly mood. He was acting like a shy boy every now and then blushing. Rati seized the opportunity. She approached Shiva to congratulate Him and prayed to Him to put life back into the ashes of her husband Kama she had preserved in a sack tied at the comer of her saree

Shiva was in a very generous and magnanimous mood. He cast a compassionate glance at the sack and lo! Kama came back to life to the delight of Rati. The appearance of the god of love charged up the atmosphere. Newly weds danced merrily with abundance and freedom. The married women sang and danced setting aside all of their mundane austerities. Exaplained Sage Soota in detail here the finer points  of ideal marital life.

Divine Couple At Kailasha

At last, married couple left for Kailasha, their marital abode now. They hosted all the guests who had accompanied them. Then, the guests departed leaving Shiva and Parvati to begin their conjugal life.
The honeymoon of the divine duo began.

Thousands of years went by but there was no sign of Shiva begetting a son to slay Taraka. The gods were getting worried and very impatient. Vishnu reasoned that the divinities took their time to descend to the mundane level only where begetting offspring was possible.

Unable to wait any longer, Vishnu and 33 crore deities reached Kailasha to pray to Shiva to bless them with the deliverer. Vishnu called out to Shiva who came out in an upset mood. He told the visitors that they could have waited for some more time.

In answer to the prayers of the gods Shiva came off (ejaculated). As already decided Agni flew in, in the form of a pigeon and swallowed the semen ejaculated by Shiva. Then, Parvati came out to see what was keeping Shiva away from her. In one look she understood what was going on. For wasting her man’s virility she cursed gods to be incapable of having any offsprings. She cursed Agni to become indiscriminate omnivorous thing. The divine couple then returned to their love chamber.

As Agni was the symbolic mouth of gods through which they received oblations offered at yajnas they began to suffer from sickness of vomitting. In answer to their prayers Shiva asked them to vomit. But the gods still felt sickness even after vomitting. Narada suggested that Shiva- semen should be transmitted into the women who bathed in cold water during the icy winter time.

The Shiva seed was too hot to handle. Arundhati learnt about it and asked the wives of the sages not to bathe in river (as cold mountains regions were the mostly populated by ashrams of sages). But six women happened to descend into the cold water. Somehow Agni injected in the Shiva seeds into them. They got impregnated even when their husbands were away on penance missions.

But the women were unable to hold the hot seeds in them. They prayed to Vayu (wind god) to help them out. He obliged by blowing away the seeds to drop into the water of Ganga. The holy river also heated up due to those seeds. Its waves gushed into the river bank reed bushes to strain the seeds off.

On the sixth day of the ascending moon phase of Margashirsha a baby was born in the reeds as the fruitation of the entire exercise. It was the son of Shiva born in a strange way. Sage Vishwamitra happened to come upon that spot. The baby asked the sage to perform his birth rites. The sage refused as he was not a brahmin by birth.

Baby asked him to do it in secret as his private priest. After other rites the baby was given the name of Kumaraswamy (Kartikeya) and his horoscope prepared. Agni too arrived and kissed the baby. After blessing the child Agni gave him a gift of a divine weapon Shakti. The baby from its very birth was acting like a grown up.

With the gifted weapon he raced up the hill and struck its peak which collapsed down. Kartikeya began to wreak havoc around. Taraka sent demons to tackle the boy but they were beaten away by Kartikeya who now seemed intent on demolishing the entire hill.

Indra descended to check Kartikeya. He hit the latter which produced a divine person out of the boy. Indra hit three times more and three more persons were born called Skandhas. The four Skandhas and Kartikeya rushed forward to thrash Indra who fled and went into hiding.

The boy reached heaven looking for Indra. The six holy women who had earlier borne the Shiva seeds appeared there. The sight of the cute baby filled them with an urge to mother the boy baby. They fought to suckle him. Kartikeya transformed into a six faced divinity to have them all suckle him. The women took baby Kartikeya to their domain and began to bring him up.

Search For Kartikeya

A long time passed. One day Parvati asked Shiva what had happened to the seed he had shed and Agni had swallowed. To know about it Shiva summoned Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and other gods to his domain. He asked them about the seed he had shed. The gods revealed the story of Kartikeya, his birth and how he was being brought up by six Kritika women.

Shiva and Parvati were elated to hear about the manifestation of Kartikeya and they wished to see the boy. Nandi and other ganas were sent to bring the boy, the product of the divine seed of Shiva. Nandi introduced himself to Kartikeya and then revealed the facts about the boy himself, how he was born, his relationship with Shiva and Parvati and the purpose of his birth.

Kartikeya was told how his divine sire and mother were anxiously waiting to see him! The revelations pleased the youngman. He took leave of his six tearful mothers whom he blessed with divine knowledge. Kartikeya sat in the magnificent celestial chariot specially sent for him. In a flash it reached Kailasha. The news of his arrival brought Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Brahma and other gods to the spot where the chariot had stopped. Lord Shiva took him in his arms. Ma Parvati hugged him affectionately. With sacred water the boy was bathed and Shiva formally named him ‘Kartikeya’.

After beseating him on a golden throne Shiva gave him a trident, a bow, a battle axe, Vishnu blessed him with a divine crown and necklace and ‘Brahma offered him sacred thread and carry bowl. The other gods, Himavanta and deities also gifted Kartikeya rich and divine items.

After receiving the presents and gifts Kartikeya asked what he should give them in return. In one voice the gods prayed that they only wanted him to deliver them from the tyranny of Tarakasura. Shiva and Parvati were prayed to spare their son for the mission.

Taraka Slayed

At first Parvati was reluctant. Then Brahma disclosed that he had given boon to the demon that no one could kill him except the son of an ascetic of high order. Shiva was a yogi of the highest order. Hence, Taraka was fated to die at the hands of Kartikeya. So, Parvati gladly blessed her son and gave him the permission to go for the battle against Taraka. Shiva also blessed him with victory against the evil demon.

Kartikeya was duly coronated as the commanding Lord of the celestial forces. He went into battle against Taraka demon assisted by Veerbhadra, Vishnu, Indra and other gods. Upon being challenged Taraka arrived with his mighty demon host. Vishnu charged at Taraka who defended and counter attacked knocking down his enemy out of senses.

Vishnu came back soon and hit Taraka who staggered and looked dazed. Veerbhadra was making a move to pounce on the dazed demon but Kartikeya stopped him. Before that Indra had got injured in a demonic attack.

Taraka laughed when he saw boyish Kartikeya coming at him. But he was no more laughing when the boy invoked his father Shiva and Ma Parvat: before launching his divine weapon at the chest of the demon. That single charge felled the demon Taraka to the delight of the gods. Kartikeya, the Shanmukha (six faced) had earned his glory. His victory cry echoed through the cosmos and the grateful gods sang prayers in his praise. Victorious Kartikeya went back to Kailasha to his proud parents to receive their affectionate blessings.

The incredible feat of the son of the divine couple of Kailasha became known to a mountain ruler named Krauncha who was being terrorised by a demon called Banasura. The ruler invoked Kartikeya and prayed for his help. Kartikeya was now more empowered divinity.

He released his invoked weapon Shakti, the weaponised form of the power of his mother, to eliminate the demonic trouble. Kartikeya planted three Shiva Lingams at the spot Banasura was killed to pay homage to his divine parents. He also erected a victory arch. Vishnu and other gods also arrived there to plant their own Lingams in gratitude to Lord Shiva.

Kartikeya carried on his victory campaign against demonic forces by taking on yet another menace in the form of Pralamba demon. It was done in answer to the prayer of Kumuda, the son of Adhishesha. That demon also got killed. Thus, Kartikeya earned great glory by banishing the woes of the gods, giving great satisfaction to his divine parents and granting boons to the celestials who sang odes to his deeds.

Creation Of Ganesha

Continued Sage Soota with the revelation of what Brahma had told to his son Narada:
One day Parvati was taking her bath in the privacy of her own chamber. The ganas (Shiva’s guards) had been ordered by her not to let anyone in. Then, Shiva arrived and walked in. The ganas would not stop him as he was their Lord and Master and they were his servitors.

For them any; order issued by any other entity did not apply to their master. To the utter embarrassment of Goddess Parvati Shiva walked in catching her in nude state. Crimson red Parvati ran into an enclosed space to be out of sight. Later, her companion maids Jaya and Vijaya impressed on Parvati that she needeed to have her own ganas loyal only to her commands and wishes. For Shivganas she would always be secondary entity.

It had become obvious that males, and even Ardhanareeshwara (Flalf man-Half woman) Shiva could not understand the female sensitivity. So, Parvati also must have guards who would overrule even Shiva. With that sentiment Parvati rubbed her body scrapping off her body dirt and beauty aid applications.

With that lump she shaped a male figure and blessed life to it. Thus, a cuddly and cute boy came into existence. After fondly dressing him and arming him with a divine sceptre Parvati stationed him at the door of her private chamber with orders not to let anyone in without her clearance when she prepared to take bath.

Again Shiva happened to arrive from an outing and tried to barge in as usual. But this time a boyish gam (guard) barred his way. Shiva stared at the alien offender. Shivaganas tried to browbeat the boy but the latter would not relent. They tried force to remove the boy from there. But the force was met with stronger force. The Shivaganas attacked with weapons as a fighting unit but counter attack by the boy repulsed their charge. One more charge too got beaten back. The young boy stood un vanquished.

Parvati did not intervene to stop the battle. She infact blessed her boy with more divine powers. Shivaganas and the gods needed to be taught a lesson in gender sensitivity and balance of power. On the other side, to help Shivaganas, gods, Vishnu and Brahma also arrived but they too got outwitted. Brahma fled. Vishnu got his back whacked which hurt.

Only Kartikeya stood his ground but failed to subdue the boy. The other gods were also at the receiving end. So were outbattled Shivaganas. They all prayed to Shiva to deal with the adamant boy who had some mysterious force behind him. In anger Shiva raised his divine trident and launched it at the boy. The head of the boy rolled away severed from the body.

The tragic fate of her boy enraged Goddess Parvati. In raging ire and grief she multiplied herself into myriad forms of revengeful goddesses like Karati, Kubjuka, Kanza etc. who threatened to go on a rampage through the cosmos. Fearing catastrophe the gods prayed to the Supreme Goddess to cool down her anger. Narada and sages went in person to Parvati to beseech her to withdraw her angry forces to save the creation. Parvati refused to relent unless her darling boy was revived.

Now everyone prayed to three eyed Lord Shiva to meet her demand. He gave in sensing the dangers. He asked His ganas to go northwards and bring the head of any creature they met first. They ran in the direction and saw an elephant calf. Meanwhile, the body of the boy was washed, anointed with sanctified and aromated liquids.

The ganas returned with baby elephant’s head and put it on the body. All the celestial divinities prayed and Shiva blessed the combination with life. The elephant headed humanoid came to life. He was radiant with red brilliance and looked extremely loveable like a pet. Delighted was Parvati, the goddess supreme. She patted the head of her child blessingfully. She looked at peace and pacified. All her angry alter-forms remerged into her.

Parvati’s Creation Becomes Ganesha

The new elephant headed divinity was prayed to by all gods and celestial beings including sages. Shiva declared the boy as His son and made him the chief of his force of Shivaganas. Thus, he became Ganesha or Ganapati (Lord of ganas or chief of ganas).

All the members of Trinity and other gods agreed to bless Ganesha with the divine power to remove, hurdles and problem. Thus, invocation of the name of ‘Shri Ganesha’ became a sacred tradition at the beginning of any new endeavour or religious ceremony for its smooth path. That made Ganesha, the first amongst al deities. And that fact also earned him a new name Vinayaka (the banisher of glitches and hurdles).

It was also decided that his birthday, 4th day of ascending moon-phase of Bhadrapada shall be celebrated as Ganesha Chaturthi. The worship of Lord Ganesha on that day would remove all hurdles and obstacles from the life of a faithful. Ganesha was then ceremoniously worshipped by divinities with vermilion as his complexion was of that colourred. Thus was Ganesha installed as the Deity Principal.

Estrangement Of Kartikeya

Asked Shaunaka and the holy group :
Sage! What was the dispute between Ganesha and Kartikeya that created bad feeling in the divine family?

Sighed Sage Soota before providing the answer :
Both the sons of the divine couple grew up pampered, patronised and constantly gaining new powers. They were treated equal although Ganesha always hovered around them being younger child. Kartikeya did not mind and he on his own pampered his younger sibling. When they attained the age when romantic thoughts seize a young mind the two brothers wanted to get married.

They expressed their wish to Shiva and Parvati and each pressed to be married first. For the first time there appeared to be a sibling rivalry. To be impartial the divine couple suggested a race around the cosmos and whoever came back first would earn the right to the first marriage.

Kumar Kartikeya set out on his divine mount peacock to strut and fly through the universe. Ganesha made no move because his mount was mouse (an accursed Yaksha) who couldn’t move any faster. He instead sat and raced his mind to find some solution.

He went and took dips in holy waters before returning to his parents. Ganesha made elaborate obeisance to them and performed worship. Then, Ganesha went around beseated Shiva and Parvati three times. He claimed victory in the race against his brother. Divine parents asked him to justify his strange claim.

With folded hands Ganesha prayed that holy scriptures had recorded that if a son went around his parents in true devotional sentiment after proper worship ritual he gained the credit of going around the cosmos. Not accepting his claim would mean outrage of the sanctity of holy tenets. Parvati smiled at the cleverness of her son.

The sages and other custodians of holy tenets too agreed that rejection of Ganesha’s claim entailed serious breach of dharmashastras. Thus, Ganesha’s claim was unanimously upheld. Prajapati Vishwaroopa offered his daughters called Siddhi and Buddhi in marriage to victorious Ganesha.

Meanwhile, Kartikeya was returning from his cosmic round when he came across Sage Narada who revealed to him the developments back home, acceptance of the claim of Ganesha and his marriage with daughters of Vishwaroopa. Kartikeya felt cheated and was angry.

After meeting his parents he departed to live at Krauncha Hills in protest. He took vow to remain celibate all his life. The faithfuls who worship Kumar Kartikeya on the full moon day under Krittika star in the month of Kartika (Roughly October) get their sins cleansed off.

Parvati was saddened at the estrangement of their son Kartikeya. Shiva was also upset. At the suggestion of Parvati, the two went to Krauncha Hills, the new abode of their son. But sensing their move Kartikeya had already departed from there to go far away.

The divine couple vested themselves on Krauncha Hills in the forms of Mallikarjuna Jyoti Lingam and Bhranarambika respectively in memory of their son. On Amavasya night each month Shiva visits those hills to look for Kartikeya. Parvati does that on fullmoon nights. Thus concluded Soota the story of the two brothers, Ganesha and Kartikeya, the sons of divine couple.

Three Demons—Three Abodes (Tripura)

The demon Taraka killed by Kartikeya had three sons named Tarkasha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha. Anguished at the killing of their father the three went to the forest and made penance of very severe kind. They were trying to propitiate Brahma and gain boons.

When Brahma materialised before the three and asked the three to wish for boons. The demon-trio asked for immortality and invincibility to enable them to take revenge on their enemies. It was against cosmic laws, Creator said and asked them instead to choose the way of their death.

The demons wished—’Lord! Create three palatial abodes one of gold, other of silver and third of iron for us, one for’ each, situated in blue clouds one above, another invisible to the naked eyes, at noon when moon be under an auspicious star they will come together.

One thousand celestial years hence black clouds called Pushkaravarta may rain down at the hour when abodes meet, then our revered Lord Shiva may arrive on an impossible chariot and destroy us along with our domains with one shot of arrow!’ The wish was granted.

The demonic creator of wonders, Maya was ordered to create such abodes. He complied with and placed one in space, another in earth and third in celestial heaven. The demons kept themselves invested in meditation of Shiva.

The penance of demon trio eroded the glory and power of Indra and his gods. They felt miserable and bleeding as divinity was getting squeezed out of them. They prayed to Brahma for rescue. He sent them to Shiva. Shiva said there was nothing he could do as long as the demons treaded the path of dharma religiously.

The rescue act could be put in action if the demons strayed into the wrong path. the sake of his faithful gods Vishnu created ‘Arihan Monk’ with a shaven head, a carrybowl hanging from his shoulders and holy looking book in his hand giving impression of being the incarnation of true dharma. Vishnu blessed him and ordered him to mislead demons into a false faith.

He was equipped with sinister mantras, evil rites, absurd rituals and degrading principles. He was infact the harbinger of Kaliyuga but looked like a messiah. The demons affected by the may a of Shiva fell for him. The entire demonic domainsere filled with flesh sellers, lechers, evil doers, sinners and impiety.

All the credits earned by devout demons was washed away. The demons now looked like mean characters of no value. Then, the goddess of poverty walked in to consume whatever good was left over. The three demonic domains had become abodes of sins. Then, the black clouds began to pour down water as wished by the demon-trio. One thousand celestial years were over. The star configuration as stipulated also showed up.

It was time for Shiva to strike. Vishnu prayed to Him. Shiva ordered his forces to prepare for the battle. The celestial architect Vishwakarma created a chariot of impossible proportions using seasons, sun, moon, constellations, hills, seas, rivers, knowledge of Vedas, Purans, Smriti, scriptures etc. as its various components. Brahma himself became its driver and Vishnu the one shot arrow.

Shiva kept a steady aim for a hundred years before finding the right moment when all the three demonic abodes were in straight alignment. The abodes along with demons perished to the great joy of the gods.

Arihan was ordered by Brahma to stay put in hill tops along with his malefic workers and wait for the arrival of Kaliyuga to get into action. In that age of evil the bad ones would adore him but the good ones shall keep him at a distance and continue to tread the path of rectitude and righteousness to earn moksha after death ending the run of transmigration.

Brahma joined other gods in praying to Shiva still was in his terrifying angry form. At last he cooled down and blessed all the gods, Brahma and Vishnu before retiring to his Kailasha domain.
Sage Soota and the holy group bowed to the glory of Lord Shiva.

Jullundhar’s Tale

Prayed Shaunaka and the holy group :
Sage! Please reveal to us the katha of Jullundhar.

Obliged Sage Soota with a smile :
Very interesting is the birth of mighty Jullundhar, the angst manifestation of Shiva. Once Indra and Guru Brihaspati decided to visit Kailasha to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Lord decided to test the sharpness of their insight. In their way he sat in the disguise of a meditating ascetic.

Upon seeing him Indra asked if Shiva was at home or gone to some other dimension? The ascetic did not give answer feigning to be lost in meditation. Indra lost his temper and rebuked the ascetic for acting dumb. Ascetic did not respond. Infuriated Indra tried to hit the ascetic with his Vajra (thunderbolt). But Lord immobilised his hand by his divine power.

Guru Brihaspati at once knew who the ascetic was. He prayed to Ascetic Shiva and pushed Indra at the feet of Shiva. By then, in Shiva the charge of anger against Indra had already built up into a destructive flame seeking to erupt from His third eye. Brahma prayed to Shiva to bury the flame into the sea. Shiva obliged.

Inside the sea the flame transformed into a baby who bawled loud enough to disturb the entire creation. Brahma arrived to see the baby who was creating such sound waves. The sea god gave the mysterious baby to Brahma. The baby tugged at the beard of Brahma so hard that tears came into the eyes of Creator. Tire baby, for this fact was known as ‘Jullundhar’ (the tear jerker).

Brahma now realised the baby was the embodied form of Shiva’s flame of anger. Brahma blessed the boy with knowledge, valour and a boon to become a mighty all conquering demon king of Patala which fructified very soon. Jullundhar had married Brinda, the daughter of king Kalnemi of demons. She was a very pious and had impeccable character.

One day Guru Shukracharya arrived at the court of king Jullundhar. The king asked how their Rahu had lost his head. Guru narrated the tale of the churning of sea by gods and demons and how the gods had cheated them out of nectar aided by Vishnu. In angry and revengeful mood Jullundhar raided the heaven and occupied it. The gods fled to Vishnu, their chief patron. In pursuit of them Jullundhar also stormed into the domain of Vishnu. Vishnu prepared to kill the enemy with his Sudarshan Chakra.

But Laxmi intervened and prayed that he must not kill Jullundhar as he was her brother; being born out of sea as she too was. Vishnu yielded to her request. The demons and the gods waged a fierce battle. Vishnu and Jullundhar could not score decisive victory against each other. They praised the valour of each other and decided to make peace. Jullundhar gave Vishnu and the gods royal feast to honour them. In a boon Vishnu agreed to live with Jullundhar accompanied by

Goddess Laxmi. Now, by the grace of Vishnu and Laxmi, Jullundhar ruled the domains fearlessly. The demons prospered. The subjects were satisfied as the demon king was treading the path of righteousness. The gods did not like it. They were too jealous to accept the dominance of the demons and suffered mentally.

Narada Manipulates Jullundhar 

The gods prayed to Shiva and He inspired Narada to help out the gods. Narada was expert in creating misunderstandings, spreading rumours and mentally manipulating others. Indra and other gods prayed to him to wrap up the mind of Jullundhar to make him do something outrageous. Sage Narada paid a visit to Jullundhar. The demon-lord welcomed the sage.

Narada saw the treasures of the demon lord and praised his splendour. But he remarked glory of king Jullundhar was a little imperfect because he had no divine female by his side. He suggested Goddess Parvati would be the best choice as she had divinity and beauty in equal measure. The demon saw good advice in it. Parvati deserved his palaces instead of caves of Kailasha.

So, he sent Rahu to Shiva as his messenger and told lord to surrender Devi Parvati to the service of demon lord Jullundhar. Angry Shiva got Rahu grabbed by manifesting an alter, ego like Narsimha. Rahu begged for mercy and at Shiva’s command ate his own legs and arms. The propitiated Shiva ordered his release. And evil, Rahu ran to his demon lord and reported whatever” had happened.

It infuriated him and he ordered his demon forces to prepare for the battle against the forces of Shiva to win Parvati as a prize. It did not take long for demonic army and Shivaganas aided by the gods to get engaged in a fierce battle. The battle raged on and the advantages kept fluctuating on one side or other. Both sides suffered heavily.

The piety of Brinda was keeping the demon king safe from the divine charges of Shiva as His own divinity was vested in it. Then, Jullundhar created an illusion in which all the gods, ganas and Shiva Himself got bewitched. The battlefield appeared crowded with dancing belles. The battle was forgotten and the gods were dancing with them. Shiva was watching the dance spell bound. He no more gave any thought to Jullundhar.

Meanwhile, Jullundhar transformed himself into Shiva and rode a Nandi (duplicated) to the abode of Kailasha to trick Parvati. But Parvati saw through the game and fled to Vishnu to escape from the warped up demon lord. Jullundhar happened to have the glimpse of the beauty of Parvati and a few drops of his manhood oozed out of excited organ.

That was how Parvati realised he was an impostor in disguise. Vishnu prayed to Goddess Parvati how he could be helpful in the situation. Parvati asked Vishnu to outrage the modesty of Brinda and ruin her piety which would rob Jullundhar of the shield her piety provided to him. Thus, rendered vulnerable Jullundhar would be easily killed by Shiva.

Goddess assured Vishnu he would suffer no penalty of sin as he would destroy her honour in the guise of the demon Jullundhar who himself tried same trick on Her impostoring as Shiva. Both the acts would cancel each other. So, he went to Brinda in disguise of Jullundhar and made love to her saying he badly missed her in war.

Brinda had been seeing nightmares about her mate Jullundhar during the hostilities. Sometimes strange creatures brought severed limbs and arms of her husband to her and made her pray for his safety. That was why seeing him come home so pleased her and she voluntarily yielded. But suddenly she realised that she had been tricked.

Brinda put a curse on Vishnu that once in a future time his wife would be abducted by a demonic king and he shall roam the wilds pining for her accompanied by Sheshanaga as his younger brother. Then, Brinda prepared a pyre and immolated her defiled body to the horror of Vishnu who afterwards flopped into the ashes lamenting and sorrowing for his outrageous act.

Revealed Soota – ‘Devi Brinda declared she would take rebirth as Tulsi, the holy basil plant that will ever give off her piety as its sanctifying aroma’.
Spoke the group of holy men – “Sage Soota! What happened at the battlefield to bewitched Shiva and his soldiers? How did Jullundhar fare after losing the piety protection of Brinda?”

Answered Soota :
Jullundhar saw that his spell was broken and Shiva forces were battling again. To upset Shiva the demon used his demonic maya to create duplicate Parvati and got her tied to his chariot. To his commanders he ordered to beat her relentlessly. The scene shocked and deeply hurt Lord. In anger He transformed into his terrifying form (Raudra Roopa) which scared the demons.

Commanders, Shumbh and Nishumbh tried to flee. Shiva put a curse on them to die at the hands of Parvati in a dreadful way. Then, Rudra turned His attention at Jullundhar who shot an invoked arrow and spread darkness. Rudra used the dreaded Sudarshan Chakra and beheaded demon Jullundhar. A ball of light shot out from the dying demon which merged into Shiva.

His flame had returned to Him. The death of Jullundhar was hailed by the gods and sounded were kettledrums and hornbugles. Flowers were rained down on Shiva. Sang Soota and his holy audience odes to Deity Supreme.

Shankhachoora’s tale

Narrate the tale of Shankhachoora, Soota did at the request of his listeners :
An ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, the demonic Dambha, the son of Sage Kashyapa was. Pleased with his devotion Vishnu granted him a boon to sire a son as valiant and glorious as lord himself was.
Meanwhile, a cowherd of Gokul named Sudama was cursed by Radha to take birth in the demonic race. Consequently he was born as the son of Dhambha the offspring booned by Vishnu.

Dambha had made a one hundred thousand-year-long penance for it. The boy was named Shankhachoora. In his very young age he made intense penance to propitiate Brahma. When creator appeared to him, in boon Shankhachoora asked for invincibility. Brahma gave him a divine armour called Krishna Kavacha which would make him immune to defeats.

Brahma commanded him to go to Badrikashrama where the daughter of Dharmaraja named Tulsi was making penance and marry her. Shankhachoora obeyed and introduced himself to Tulsi revealing the truth that he was an accursed cowherd of previous life. His truthfulness won the heart of Tulsi. The two got married in secret in gandharva tradition.

Then, he returned home with his bride. Guru Shukra of demons was very pleased with him. He, at once organised the coronation of Shankhachoora as the new demon king. Guru revealed to him the wrongs done by the gods to the demons all through the yugas. Shankhachoora decided to punish the gods for the injustices and deceits played against the demons.

He raided heaven domain with a large demonic army and drove out the gods from there. Now Shankhachoora was the lord of heavens and the master of Surya, Chandra, Pavana, Kubera, Varuna, and other presiding deities.

The gods who had fled ran to Brahma to seek help. The creator took them all to Vishnu who said as the demon king was his devotee, they must pray for the grace of Shiva who may give them some useful suggestion.

The gods prayed to Shiva for deliverance from the torments of Shankhachoora. Supreme deity Shiva assured them that he would deal with the demon very soon and end their woes and miseries.
First Shiva sent an emissary to Shankhachoora to ask him to return the domain of the gods peacefully to them. The demon king refused to yield. Shiva rallied all the god forces and sent them with Bhadrakali, Kartikeya and Ganesha to take on the arrogant demon.

Shankhachoora came to battle with his mighty demon host. The demon host held its ground and put pressure on the gods and the forces of Shiva. The embattled gods prayed to Deity Supreme and He too joined the fray. The god forces rallied and attacked. Devi Bhadrakali fought bitterly with the demon lord. As she was about to use her ultimate weapon, a divine message rang in her mind that Shankhachoora was not fated to die at her hands.

Upon learning about it Shiva astride his Nandi moved forward to challenge the mighty demon. He made several attempts but could not deter -Shankhachoora although demon army suffered heavy losses. In furious mood Shiva prepared to launch his divine trident. Goddess of wisdom spoke to his mind ‘Lord! Why use that divine weapon against a mean demon? You know well that Shankhachoora can not be harmed until he wears that booned Krishna Armour and his wife Tulsi protects him with her piety.’

Shiva invoked Vishnu and relayed the problem he faced. Vishnu went to Shankhachoora in the guise of a mendicant brahmin and bowed seeking alms. Demon lord asked what he wanted. In his post meditation hour he used to grant whatever a seeker wanted.

The brahmin asked for his Krishna Armour. Shankhachoora took off the armour and handed it to the alms seeker although he had realised it was Vishnu himself in disguise. Then, Vishnu went to Tulsi in the form of her husband, Shankhachoora saying he could not bear the separation from her. She happily welcomed the impostor taking him for her real husband. They made love. Suddenly the foot prints on the floor revealed to her that it was impostoring Vishnu she had slept with. For his cruel act Tulsi put a curse on Vishnu to become a stone.

Without armour and piety of Tulsi Shankhachoora got enfeebled and the holy trident of Shiva claimed him. After killing Shankhachoora, Shiva appeared before Tulsi and Vishnu. He granted Tulsi a place in Baikuntha domain and physical manifestation as river Gandaka on the banks of which Vishnu will lie as stones. Of those the stones with holes and grooves will be worshipped as sacred Shaligrama.

Special blessings will be earned if the faithful keep heaps of Shaligrama stones at the base of Tulsi plant (the Holy Basil). As the soul of Tulsi went towards Baikuntha, her mortal body turned into river Gandaka and Vishnu became stones to lie on its banks.

Tale Of Andhakasura

Began Soota the tale of Andhakasura after Shankhachoora :
Once during the divine sojourn of Shiva and Parvati at Kashi, the divine couple went to Mandrachala hill for a romantic walk about. They sat at a place and played amorous games. Parvati playfully covered the eyes of Shiva with her palms in ‘Guess who?’ gesture. Suddenly, darkness descended on the worlds as the divine eyes were blocked. Goddess Parvati’s palms sweated.

Out of that sweat a blind character got born. The boy was named Andhaka. Parvati agreed to foster the child as her offspring. Meanwhile, two demon brothers Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu were engaged in intense penance making to propitiate Shiva.

When Shiva asked them to spell out their wish, the demons wanted a son in boon. Shiva gladly handed over to them Andhaka. The elder demon Hiranyaksha took the boy home with his brother. The boy began to grow up as the crown prince of demonic king Hiranyaksha.

After winning the grace of Lord Shiva the demon brothers went on a victory campaign. They won all the domains and even dared to hide the earth in a sea of demonic sorcery. To reclaim the earth Vishnu took incarnation of a boar and retrieved the earth from the sea with his tusks. In the ensuing battle Hiranyaksha got slain by Vishnu.

After Hiranyaksha, Andhakasura descended on the demonic throne. The gods were happy that a blind demonic king could make little trouble to them. The other sons of Hiranyaksha did not like Andhakasura wearing the crown. Prahlada was amongst them.

They argued that Andhaka was not a biological son of the late king but a gift of Shiva. He had other infirmities as well. Being a blind he was physically unfit and was too soft hearted to make a tough demonic ruler. Thus, Andhakasura was dethroned and Prahlada group seized the power.

It greatly anguished Andhakasura and retired to the forest to make penance to seek justice and correct the wrong done to him. For ten thousand years he spiritually toiled. At last, Brahma appeared to boon him eyesight, valour, health and youthful vigour. In place of immortality Brahma agreed to grant him the death the way he chose. Andhakasura said he may die when he felt lust for a female divinity who be like mother of all and he himself begged for death.

So empowered Andhakasura went back and regained his throne. All the earlier detractors became his slaves. To use the youth power he became a debauche. With his valour he won all the domains and drafted all the beauties to satisfy his lust. Thus, he lived. Once he camped at Mandarachala hill with his females to make merry in salubrious surroundings.

He got pleasure palaces constructed there. One day his ministers came to him to report that an ascetic was meditating on a hill and he had a woman so beauteous that no woman of Andhakasura could even hold a lamp to her. The demon felt an overpowering lust for her. He sent a messenger to the ascetic and demanded his woman.

The ascetic waved away the messenger and paid no heed to him. Of course, the ascetic was Shiva and the woman was none other than Parvati. Andhakasura was about to invite his own death. In a great angry mood Andhakasura drank wine and shouted at his men to teach a lesson to the foolish ascetic and fetch his woman for him. Prahlada and other demons went to the hill making a great noise which disturbed the meditation of Shiva.

The Shivaganas challenged the demon host. A battle began. Shiva himself joined the battle and killed the demons furiously. The guru of demons kept the dead demons resurrecting with his power. Angered at it, Shiva grabbed him and swallowed. The demons no more got revived. Andhakasura too had come to the battle.

Shiva jabbed his trident into the torso of the demon and hoisted him in the air. He planted the trident into the ground with Andhakasura transfixed above in neither dead nor alive state. The demon could not stay like that for long. He prayed to Deity Supreme for death. Shiva obliged and sent him to His domain as a chief of his gana force.

“What happened to the demon guru?” some one asked, Replied Soota – The demon guru squirmed and repented in the stomach of Shiva. He prayed to Lord for deliverance from that state. Shiva answered his prayer by saying that he would exit from His system as a spern with a semen discharge. Thus, came out demon guru to get the name of Shukra (Sperm). Bless him, Shiva did saying that he would be like his own son in future.

Tale Of Usha-Aniruddha

Enlightened Sage Soota his holy audience with the tale of Banasura, Usha and Aniruddha. Usha was the daughter of king Banasura, an illustrious descendent of the mighty king BaH of demons at whose door stands the Vamana incarnation of Vishnu in Patala. Banasura made a number of penances and earned many powers and divine weapons from various deities. He was an ardent devotee of Shiva and as boon He lived in the capital of Banasura called Shonitpura.

Banasura was getting very frustrated as no one was daring to challenge his might. All his powers and weapons remained untested. At last, he went to Shiva and prayed to him to create an opponent for him against whom he could test his strength.

Shiva said it was no good to show such arrogant attitude. In irritation He gave His standard bearing peacock emblem to the demon and said, “Fix it on the main gate of your city. The day you find it fallen you should know that your challenger has arrived.”

Banasura went back feeling happy at the prospect of getting an opponent. So eager was he to fight it out with someone. His daughter Usha was incarnation of the consort of Kama, the god of love. A dedicated devotee of Shiva she was.

One day, on an impulse she went out in the guise of Parvati to meet Shiva. Meanwhile, Lord had been feeling lonely and he had invoked his consort Parvati wishing her to be by His side. In response she materialised at Shonitpura and saw Usha trying to impersonate her.

But Parvati did not mind as the girl was doing that out of devotion to Lord. No sinful idea was behind it. Parvati blessed her and advised the girl to keep fast on the 12th day of ascending moon phase of Kartika to meet her man.

Usha followed the advice of Parvati. On the night of that day she met her man, an extremely handsome young royal in her dream. They made love and Usha when wake up confided her dream ” to her friend Chitralekha who had amazing mystical power.

Using the memory of Usha she drew the picture of the dream lover of her friend had mated with. Through yogic power she found out the young royal was Aniruddha, the grand son of Krishna, the lord of Dwarka. Aniruddha himself was incarnation of Kama.

Usha could not tolerate any more separation from her lover. For the sake of her lovesick friend Chitralekha abducted Aniruddha from his chamber in sleep and got him to Usha through yoga-portation. The two lovers honeymooned in the chamber of the Princess. The coy behaviour like a new bride displayed by Usha made the guards suspicious.

They reported it to their master. Banasura walked into his daughter’s chamber unannounced and found the young couple engaged in amorous chess sport. The angry demon king ordered the arrest of the intruder. Aniruddha beat back demon guards. Banasura used his nagpash, the divine serpent mesh to tie up Aniruddha who was thrown in a dungeon when a divine voice warned against any physical harm to the prisoner.

Meanwhile, the royals of Dwarka were worried’ at the mysterious disappearance of Prince Aniruddha. All the searches yielded no positive result. Then, Narada arrived at the Dwarka court and revealed all that had happened to Aniruddha at Shonitpura. Krishna set out with his mammoth army to take on the demon lord.

On the other side, fed up with prison Aniruddha invoked Parvati on the 14th day of waning moon phase of Jyestha, a day auspicious to propitiate Goddess. She materialised in the dungeon, freed Aniruddha and later, by her grace the lovers got duly married.

As Dwarka army came closer to Shonitpura, the Shiva standard fell off the gate of the city. Banasura knew his challenger was coming. He felt happy and got ready for the battle, he so eagerly had awaited. As Shiva was the guest resident of the demonic capital He was morally bound to defend alongside Banasura. Face to face with Krishna came Shiva.

The former said he knew that His presence there was due to the boon He had granted to Banasura and Krishna’s own arrival was also in response to Shiva’s curse to the demon in the form of falling down of His standard.

Shiva smiled saying His boon and curse both will be made to come true. He will battle for Banasura but the use of ‘Zruma’ arrow by Krishna would make Him flee to Kailasha. The battle duly began. After some battling Krishna used that arrow and Shiva left the battle field.

The battle raged on. Krishna released Sudarshan Chakra and sliced off 996 arms of the demon. Before he could “behead the demon, a divine message said to his mind not to do so. Krishna and Banasura agreed to a truce and peace as they were soon to become relatives through the formal marriage of Aniruddha and Usha. Krishna went to Dwarka with newly weds. Banasura was imparted religious wisdom and he went to live in Kailasha domain of Shiva as Mahakaal.

Tale Of Gajasura, Dundubhi And Vidalotapaia

Enquired the holy audience :
O scholiast Soota! Are there more episodes in the Rudra Samhita, the second chapter?

Responded Sage Soota :
There are, holy sirs! The prominent amongst them are the characters Gajasura, Dundubhi and Vidalotapala pair that feature in them. I will relate the episodes one by one. Hear attentively.
Mahishasura had a son called Gajasura. An intense penance he made to propitiate Brahma.

He was able to extract some boons from creator : First he would not die at the hands of any one who could not resist Kama’s temptations and second was to be able to enjoy all the privileges and luxuries the gods did. And for that he had to be valiant to be in the positon of the master of all.

After getting the boons granted he conquered all the domains and indulged in all kinds of pleasures which eroded his wisdom and arrogance set in. All the holy men he derided and tormented. Gajasura targeted Kashi, the city of Shiva which always teemed with holy men and religious scholars. Shiva did not like it.

In a battle against Gajasura he jumped in and picked up the demon by his trident to hoist him up. By the side of His planted trident Shiva sat under the huge umbrella of the gigantic body of the demon. Gajasura prayed to Shiva to bless him with the death at His hands and cover His naked body with his hide. The propitiated Shiva installed him as a holy Lingam known as Kritivashewara, the elephant hide wearer. The real demonic form of Gajasura was that of an elephant. His name also meant ‘Elephant demon’.

Revealed Sage Soota now Dundubhi episode : When Hiranyakashipu demon was killed by Narsimha incarnation of Vishnu, his brother-in-law Dundubhi Nishad decided to kill the god faithfuls whose devotion was empowering the deity gods.

He hid in a forest called Jyotisthana to stalk the devotees. On the Shivaratri day a devotee was offering worship to Deity Supreme under a bael tree. Suddenly Dundubhi arrived there in the form of a tiger. The terrified devotee screamed ‘Oh Shiva!’ To save His faithful Shiva materialised there. In His fiery Rudra posture

He crushed the tiger head under His arm. The screams of the Tiger brought devotees and sages there on the run and found Shiva there to their delight. Shiva was worshipped by them and a Lingam called Vyagreshwara (Master of tiger) was planted right there. ‘

Narrated now Soota the story of Vidala-Utapala : Vidala and Utapala were two demons. The two had gained a boon from Brahma of immunity from death at the hands of men or gods. Shiva wanted to correct the demon duo because they were making’ trouble for the gods, humans and the holy people. Inspired by Him, Sage Narada went to the duo and revealed the magic of the beauty of Parvati, a prize that every conqueror must possess.

The duo desire aroused and in search of Parvati went to the heaven where the divine couple was engaged in romantic sport. Parvati was tossing flowers like balls playfully at amused Shiva. The demons showed up there disguised as Shivaganas. Parvati knew their reality in one askance look. Suddenly, she tossed a flower ball at the demon duo which hit them with the force of a thunderbolt. The two fell down and got dumped on the ground.

The flower ball also fell down and installed itself as another Lingam by the side of Jyosteswara Lingam. All the gods and deities arrived there besides Brahma and Vishnu. They all worshiped the new Lingam. In this way, numerous characters and miracles or spectacles of Deity Supreme add spice and sweetness to the juice of Shivatatva, the essence of Shiva. This brings to end the second chapter of Shiva Puran called Rudra Samhita. Sage Soota relapsed into reflective silence.

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